Our Story: The Beginning (Part 1)
In the late spring of 2014 the began process of opening a restaurant in Moldova. The idea was to create something new, community centered and delicious! This is how the idea of starting a BBQ restaurant was born because it is something that is uniquely American but also not too different for the Moldovan palate. There are three founders of Smokehouse, two Americans (David & Matt) and one Moldovan (Vlad), all have different backgrounds and stories of how they got where they are today. You can check each of their profiles on the Smokehouse website.
The main reason for starting the business was to prove that it was possible to start a business in Moldova the right way. To have a “clean” business when many people said that it was not possible or smart to run a business in Moldova that does not pay bribes and actually pays taxes… all of them. Secondary reason was that it would be a fun challenge to start a restaurant and bring American BBQ to Moldova to share American culture and delicious BBQ. Lastly it was a way to be able to continue to support and help Moldova by investing, providing jobs and running a business that is a model of how to do clean business.
The road of opening a restaurant in Moldova was not an easy one, it took a year of fighting corruption, bureaucracy, unreliable suppliers and other day to day craziness. It was also a creative challenge to bring American recipes to Moldova, sourcing ingredients and equipment, like a smoker for the meat. As well as building the restaurant itself to feel like a BBQ place you would find in America.
Although it has been a tough road getting started and everyday brings its own set of challenges, Smokehouse is proud to say that they have stayed true to their principles and passion. We are thankful for all of the people who have helped us along the way and our customers who make all this possible! We look forward to the BBQ, beer and community to come in the future!
Read more about the process of opening a restaurant in Moldova at Opensource Entrepreneurship.
A few memories from the founders while working on opening the restaurant:
Vlad: Before meeting David and Matt I had no idea what American BBQ and craft beer was like. I only knew BBQ like shashlik and normal beer you normally find in Moldova blonda/bruna. Also while building the restaurant, we decided to make our decor of the restaurant from pallets, burned pallets to be specific. We found the wood but it was very wet.. I can remember that smell to this day!! With all of that wood drying out in winter with almost no heat. I would call that a very unique experience.. But it turned out well!
Matt: Lacquer. Lac. лак. It was everywhere and never ending. We had so much wood to cover and so many layers of lacquer. I ruined multiple pairs of jeans, shirts, anything else I wore and even my hands were sticky for weeks. Just non-stop lacquer is what I will remember most about our Pre-Opening times. Swimming in a pool of lacquer. Fun times!
Thanks for being apart of our story and we look forward to the future!