MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Justin Zeytoonian and Mike Hofer credit tailgating at football parties to their restaurant success.
"We were always the chili guys," said Zeytoonian, a Harrison resident, who admitted he and Hofer, who lives in Port Chester, liked cooking barbecue and were always interested in the different recipes and items people would bring to the parking lot.
So, when the two opened SmokeHouse Tailgate Grill (STG) near Iona College in New Rochelle in 2007, the focus was on that kind of food in a take-out setting.
When they expanded their eatery in 2011, they turned their focus to the next best thing that goes with that kind of food: craft beers.
That concept has since been refined with STG's second location, which opened in Mamaroneck Oct. 14. Along with burgers, ribs and great local beers, there is now an extensive cocktail and bourbon program with the hopes of instituting cocktail nights and perhaps a whiskey class or bartender competition.
As for why Mamaroneck, the two, who looked all over Southern Westchester, said they chose the town's "Restaurant Row" because they liked the idea of being on a strip with a lot of commerce.
"In Mamaroneck, we're able to feed off an abundance of foot traffic," explained Zeytoonian. "At the same time, we felt we had a new product to bring to the already heavily saturated food venue area. There are many restaurants here but we didn't feel like anybody was really in our genre, meaning barbecue, burgers, and craft beer."
Brisket, served every Wednesday at both locations, is something else the restaurant is famous for. The brisket is smoked all day on Tuesday and is usually sold out by 9 p.m. Wednesday. It is served three ways: as a platter, a sandwich, and as burnt ends served over fries with barbecue sauce and melted cheese (Zeytoonian's favorite).
"Our chef, Anum Bandele, has been with us since we opened in 2007," said Zeytoonian. "He started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to lead that kitchen. After he finished culinary school at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, we offered him the opportunity to be our chef in Mamaroneck."
SmokeHouse Tailgate Grill is at 320 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck, (914) 341-1655 and at 606 North Ave in New Rochelle,(914) 813-8686, smokehousechili.com/ .
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