Wood Smoke on Washtenaw
in is, 'Man, it's smoky out there, and I had to come in and try it!'"
Morgan says business is split about fifty-fifty between dine-in and takeout, and it has been significantly brisker than he thought it would be: "We sold out of food two out of the first five days we were open, and we sold out a third time the following week." Pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches start at $6, and a half slab of barbecued ribs is $12. Sides, $1.50, include baked beans, corn bread, and greens.
Morgan, forty-five, doesn't have any restaurant experience--he describes himself as "just a hillbilly from Alabama who likes to cook a lot of barbecue." He moved to Michigan in 1989 for a teaching job and went on to work in banking and finance, but his passion has always been barbecue. "About a year ago I just kind of had this epiphany that my personal interest in barbecue happened to coincide perfectly with a fabulous market opportunity in Ann Arbor," he says. "You go down south to places like Nashville, Charlotte, and Atlanta, and they've got half a dozen to a dozen barbecue places scattered all over the place where you can just go grab a quick barbecue meal and be done." He says up here we have plenty of pizza and sandwich places, but no barbecue places--"not a bar, not a restaurant, but just a little barbecue place where all they do is barbecue. You don't go there for a beer. You don't go for a night on the town."