“Smoke Cellar Barbecue is the result of a big dream…and just a little bit of vino”.
Smoker Cellar BBQ was created by Drew and Jamie Willard. Drew, born in Louisiana and raised in Texas, grew up around Southern BBQ cuisine: Cajun and Tex-Mex more specifically.
Shortly after moving to California in 2002 he realized these particular cuisines didn’t really exist on the West Coast. So began his journey of cooking up his own inspired recipes to satisfy his lack of that Texas soul food he missed and loved dearly.
With a long list of BBQ gurus Drew follows on social media platforms, he took to the liking of one particular pit master, Dylan Taylor(co-owner of Goldee’s Barbecue in Forth Worth, Texas). Drew began chatting with him and next thing he knew he was back in Austin, TX taking a one-on-one class in Dylan’s own backyard. The class further inspired Drew to bring classic Texas style craft barbecue to his new hometown of Livermore, California.
Drew’s wife, Jamie, came up with the name Smoke Cellar BBQ, for her love of wine and a nod to the 60 wineries in Livermore Valley(and of course Drews love to smoke). Pairing the two together was a match made in heaven. With the name settled, she got to work on branding and Drew began fabrication on a 500-gallon offset smoker that he named after his grandmother, Eula.
As Drew and Jamie started to plan their first pop-up, they realized that they’d need another pair of hands to get the job done. They brought on Daryl Chun, a barbecue fanatic who’s gone on numerous barbecue crawls in Texas.
For Smoke Cellar’s first pop-up, they stayed true to Drew’s roots with a menu of brisket, grits, beans, homemade pickles and Texas toast. To appeal to California appetites they added pulled pork, spare ribs, spicy mustard slaw and tangy pickled onions.
While the Smoke Cellar team worked tirelessly to plan every detail of their first pop-up at Rebel Kitchen and Libations, there were a few factors they couldn’t control.
Along with the pandemic, which has changed Livermore’s downtown restaurant scene, the event was scheduled for a day when temps soared to 110 degrees. Drew and Jamie began to wonder, “would anyone actually show up?”
The answer was a resounding “yes.” The line stretched all the way to the street as diners waited patiently in the blazing heat and Smoke Cellar sold out in just two hours.
After the success of their first event, Smoke Cellar plans to continue holding pop-ups at Livermore’s various watering holes.
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