We happened to be in Monteagle on Fathers' Day and stopped in to the Smoke House for lunch. It is an experience. Its exterior looks like Cracker Barrel 1.0 - 20 years past its prime. The interior also looks like a time capsule, but in a more interesting way. The "general store" is similar to the offerings of the retail portion of Cracker Barrel, but actually has a more authentic feel. The restaurant could use a serious management overhaul. There is a sign "Wait to be seated" and wait you will. It was unclear whose responsibility it was to seat the customers and everyone seemed to want someone else to do it. The restaurant was not overly busy, but the tables were not being bussed quickly so there was nowhere to seat the clients. Our waitress was clearly overextended, but also seemed to have blinders on when it came to attending to our needs. After taking our drink orders it took forever to place the order for our meal. How many times should your server pass by your table after you have closed your menu before stopping to take your order? It seemed everyone else's needs came first - even patrons who came after us. Granted other customers looked like they had waited an eternity to receive their checks. There was a buffet, but the array of vegetables did not appeal to my wife enough for her to use it for a vegetable plate. The vat of pulled pork there did not look appetizing. But fortunately I wanted to order a half rack of ribs. I got the vague impression though that our desire to order from the menu rather than get the buffet may have resulted in a passive aggressive delay in our service, but who knows? The food actually arrived pretty quickly after the order was finally taken. My wife did not enjoy her veggies at all. My sons BLT actually looked really good and was completely consumed. My ribs were pretty average. Not bad, just not really outstanding. They were moist enough and the flavor was okay. The variety of sauces was fun. I did have to get out of my chair and forage among the unbussed tables to get the ones I wanted. They were pretty good, but I was not motivated enough to purchase any. I was tempted to get the Blazin' Rectum BBQ sauce for the comedic value, but decided not to give in to the scatological humor. Plus it really was just not all that hot. Then again maybe it was past its prime - there is so much inventory in this place it is hard to imagine there are not bottles of product here that are not several years old. My collard greens were good. The green beans were above average. The corn fritter was just okay. It did serve the purpose of soaking up different barbeque sauces. We passed on the dessert. The meal was reasonable priced for the quantity received. I don't regret the experience but won't be back unless I am stranded in Monteagle and want to go on a night when they have live music. A little beer and a good band would probably do wonders for the experience.
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