New Business – Leland Smoke House
Meet the owners and operators of Leland Smoke House in Leland, NC.
Why was 2020 the right time to open your business?
Our original location, Southport Smoke House, is five years old, and we felt that we had a great product and were meeting a need in the Southport area. We have a strong management team, and the time just seemed right to expand.
What made Leland the ideal location for you?
Several of our managers live in Boiling Spring Lakes, and all of us shop and dine in Leland. It’s such a great, growing city with the potential for even more growth in the days ahead. We want to scratch where people are itching. We believe the people of Leland are itching for authentic wood-smoked BBQ and brisket. And we believe our product is perfectly designed to meet that need. We also had many customers driving to Southport from Wilmington and Leland, so this location will be more convenient for them.
What services and products do you oﬀer?
We oﬀer wood smoked brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage and chicken. We also start from scratch every morning with all our homemade sides. The fried food is frozen, but all other sides are made from scratch. We have a large dining room with plenty of seating. Part of our dining room can be closed oﬀ and reserved for private events. We also oﬀer pick up, online ordering, full-service catering and large order delivery.
What separates you from the competition?
We’re old school. We smoke all our meat on site with our Old Hickory Smoker using 100 percent hickory logs that we get from a local wood supplier. We serve all of our meat with a dry rub so that our customers can taste the smoke and enjoy the moist ﬂavor of the meat. BBQ restaurants that have to cover their meat in sauce are camouﬂaging dry and bland meat. We believe the meat is the main event, not the sauce. We have seven diﬀerent homemade sauces so that our customers can dial up their own amount of sauce, but we are shooting for smoked BBQ and brisket that is so good you don’t even need sauce.
But the primary thing that separates us from almost all BBQ joints in N.C. is our brisket. We use USDA Prime brisket and prepare it and smoke it using Central Texas techniques and rub. I would put a cut of our moist brisket up against anyone in the state of N.C. It’s that good.
What has been your leading success so far?
Consistently great food and great customer service. One of our core values is that we treat our customers like guests in our home. We want our customers to feel welcomed and we want them to experience consistently great food at a fair price.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
We did not anticipate the amount of to-go ordering that we have experienced. When we ﬁrst opened almost 80 percent of our business was to-go orders. Since we have multiple ways to order (online, phone in, in person) it became very hard to manage. We made some people mad when we ﬁrst opened because of long wait times and messed up orders, and we’re sorry about that. Thankfully, we’ve improved our systems, but it’s still a challenge on busy weekend nights.
How has COVID aﬀected your business?
To-go orders and a very competitive job market. With unemployment beneﬁts so generous, many workers in the restaurant industry are simply staying home and collecting unemployment rather than working.
What can we anticipate from you in the future?
We want to be Leland’s go-to BBQ joint. No new plans, just keeping it real every day.
What’s a fun fact about you or your staff?
I’m the founding and lead pastor of Generations Church in Southport. Sometimes people ask me how I have time to lead a growing church and own two BB! restaurants. It’s easy: Every day I get to talk about my two favorite subjects, Jesus and BBQ. I’m living the dream.
Want to go?
Leland Smoke House
Troy Knight, Owner
Daniel Crouson, General Manager
503 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 100, Leland