Smokehouse Catering Company Owner Talks Relocation
Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Brandi Caplinger
Smokehouse Catering Company has grown tremendously since its opening in 2018. Owner Keith Johnson always knew he would have to move his operation to a more updated facility in the future.
“We’re located in the old Walker’s Eggs building, and it’s pretty outdated,” Johnson says. “It was never really zoned for commercial use, but we were sort of grandfathered in there. We knew this wasn’t our long-term home. We wanted to find a space that allowed for us to also offer walk-in dining.”
The new home of Smokehouse Catering Company is located at 1140 North State Road 135 in Greenwood. While the space isn’t technically bigger than the current building, it does allow for more opportunities.
“We will have indoor seating for about 88 people,” Johnson says. “Guests will come in and be able to see all the meats, sides and desserts in a style similar to Shapiro’s. We won’t have servers because it’s been so hard for everyone to find staffing. We’ll also offer beer and wine for dine-in guests.”
The menu will include daily specials created by Executive Chef Chip Huckaby.
“He’s one of the top chefs here in the midwest but also nationwide,” Johnson says. “He has a ton of experience here in central Indiana as well. He’s worked with different companies out at the Speedway and the State Fairgrounds. We plan to do steaks to order on the weekends.”
The open-concept kitchen allows eaters to see what they are having for dinner before receiving it.
“We’re still going to do our Smokehouse offerings like ribs, smoked ham, pork and chicken, along with our sides like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, sweet-corn casserole and mashed potatoes.”
Johnson will continue the carry-out and catering business while managing the indoor dining.
“We have grown so much with our catering business,” Johnson says. “We’re doing about 200 weddings a year now. We also have the largest barbecue trailer in the state of Indiana that we can take to different events.”
Johnson and his staff are local and know word-of-mouth advertising is key to their success in the area.
“I grew up here and I have kids in the school system here,” he says. “I like to give back to our local schools, churches and organizations. I think it’s paramount to keep local donation dollars back into the local area. We have donated food to all kinds of different things.”
He also appreciates the community for their support during the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020.
“This is a hard industry to begin with, even without all the other stuff going on,” Johnson says. “We really had to turn our attention to our carry-out and catering. We’ve been extremely fortunate during that time. I think the key is to stay fluid and multifaceted.”