In a city where fresh seafood and polished wine glasses reign supreme, you wouldn’t expect much in the way of down-home, finger-licking BBQ. Santa Barbara’s newest food truck hopes to change that by offering gourmet comfort dishes rooted in the Southern smokehouse tradition.
Georgia’s Smokehouse — a jet-black truck identifiable by its portrait of a Southern belle — opened its doors (or windows, rather) recently, serving a creative yet comfortable menu at locations in Goleta and downtown Santa Barbara, feeding business executives, software engineers, and innocent bystanders eager to roll up their sleeves and tear into BBQ staples (smoked baby back ribs and pulled pork sandwiches with honey apple coleslaw) and more adventurous, red-blooded specialties (bacon cheddar hush puppies with green goddess dressing and fried seasonal vegetables with tomato jam and pickled onions).
The truck is captained by Brian Parks, former executive chef of Coast Restaurant at the Canary Hotel. Parks and his wife, Alissa Parks, left the brick-and-mortar restaurant industry last year to work on transforming their four-wheel dream into reality. The result? An inspiring combination of technical skill and culinary tradition, synthesizing their passion for comfort food with decades of professional experience.
“We felt that we could fill a niche that is grossly underserved and underdeveloped,” Alissa said. “By being mobile and bringing the food to the people, it allows guests who don’t have the time or money to dine out to experience some great food.” Regarding the truck’s smokehouse theme, she said, “BBQ just made sense for us with Brian’s Alabama roots and Santa Barbara having only a few BBQ offerings.”
Georgia’s menu caters to a range of taste buds: Burger add-ons include gravy, fried egg, and blue cheese, while the grilled cheese is a veritable blank canvas with your choice of mushrooms and brie, bacon and cheddar, or pulled chicken and caramelized onions. Sides like whiskey baked beans and sweet potato fries with Tabasco aioli round out Georgia’s flesh-focused manifesto, while an allegedly “secret” vegetarian menu remains unpublished and largely underappreciated (the password is “hippie style”).
A recent stop was outside Carr Winery & Tasting Room: Parks’ hearty smokehouse fare paired surprisingly well with many of Carr’s red varietals and led to restaurant-worthy combinations like mushroom, brie, and rosemary focaccia grilled cheese with luscious Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The shrewd combination of smoke and oak might escape your average BBQ enthusiast, but not Chef Parks. Perhaps that’s to be expected from a man whose cooking credentials far exceed his humble persona.
“Our menu pairs very nicely with beer and wine, and since most wineries, breweries, and bars don’t tend to have a kitchen, it’s an obvious and easy match,” Parks said.
Like other food trucks and pop-up restaurants, Georgia’s relies on social media to stay connected. An online calendar lists daily locations and special events, while Facebook and Twitter (@georgiastruck) provide regular updates. They also cater private events for those hoping to bring a taste of Chef Parks’ Southern comfort into their own kitchens.
For more information, call (805) 845-4854 or visit georgias-smokehouse.com.