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A Hop, Skip and a Jump — Dunedin Smokehouse Moves Closer to Home

The popular barbecue restaurant and sports bar reopens today in a new location.

It’s being dubbed the Main Street shuffle.

The reopens today after taking the past four days to move onto the main drag downtown, snugly between and , formerly where the Angry Pirate once lived.

“Some people will find us that never knew we were there before,” owner René Johnson said of the Smokehouse's new 471 Main Street location.

Between August 2009 and April 2011 (less than two years), the Johnsons opened and moved two family restaurants out of 680 Main St, where Main Street and Skinner Boulevard meet at the eastern edge of the downtown business sector.

“It’s a sentimental thing to move from there,” owner René Johnson said. “But the timing was right.”

Johnson and her husband John originally opened at 680 Main St in August 2009 and moved to their current downtown location at 487 Main St in September 2010. Two months later in November 2010, daughter Sarah Johnson at Mom and Dad’s original Main Street nook.

Then sometime in January 2011, René Johnson noticed a vacancy at the former Angry Pirate. She said she was disappointed to see the business leave.

“It made the whole corner bright and active,” she said.

She waited three months before mentioning to her family the possibility of moving into the Angry Pirate (“We’d just opened the Smokehouse,” she explained.).

So, within 28 days and with a lot of help, Sarah Johnson and her team — led by Front House Manager Melissa DePaul, Executive Chef Tony Bruno and Pit Master Rick Knapik — moved forward — or, right next door, at 471 Main St.

Sarah Johnson said people have always commented on how quickly they’re able to move. Normally, she can say it's all with the help of her father.

“We’ve always really enjoyed having our dad here,” Sarah Johnson said. However, this time, John Johnson was out of town on business. Dan Mohr, of stepped in to help.

“He’s was like my surrogate dad during this time,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without him. ... We call him ‘Handy Dan.’”

So what’s the plan for the old space?

René Johnson said she has no plans to open a business there, but that the location has garnered much interest. She said the new business would compliment downtown Dunedin businesses and that based on the interest, "[It will be] a place I’d like to go.” She expects a more solid idea within the next few weeks.

Features you’ll notice at the new location:

  • Three flatscreens televisions, visible from almost any vantage point, and two smaller ones behind the bar,
  • A much larger bar area,
  • Ability for indoor entertainment,
  • Family-style dining options (for parties of six or more),
  • Cornhole,
  • Almost 50 percent more indoor seating,
  • Larger patio space, and
  • New menu specials.

Want to go?

The restaurant opens at its regular time (11 a.m.). Wendy Barmore provides music starting at 7 p.m.

New weekly specials:

  • Monday: "Recession Mondays" $7 combos (Pabst Blue Ribbon, pulled pork and a Twinkie)
  • Tuesday: Two-Dollar Tuesdays ($2 sliders, $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon and $2 wings — set of four)
  • Wednesday: Trivia Night with drink specials
  • Thursday: Reggae and Rum Night with rum specials and a reggae band
  • Friday and Saturday: Live entertainment
Rene' Johnson April 28, 2011 at 12:14 PM
We hope everyone will come out and enjoy barbecue and a good time at our new location. We are open at 11 AM daily and close at 10 PM Sunday-Thursday and at Midnight on Friday and Saturday. The place feels like home to us already and we are ready for you!
lisa walker April 28, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Good luck on the move! I am sure you will do wonderful please say Hi to my Uncle Rick the pitmaster Lisa We might be able to come by in November when we are on our way to Gainesville!
Kim Flynn April 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Congratulations...the article indicates that your decision to move took fast action and a bit of hard work....if you love what you do both are part of the fun...Eleanor Roosevelt once said "Do one thing everyday that scares you"...great quote and in keeping with that one big breath it sometimes takes to make the right decision... Best of luck, we will stop in...!! Dunedin Resident, KCF

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