You may know the Taste Smokers as a food truck. Often seen at Lost Tavern Brewing, Seven Sirens and other popular spots in the Bethlehem area, they’re known for a menu full of meaty, Chicago-style goodness. But now Lehigh Valley BBQ lovers can also find the Taste Smokers at their very own brick-and-mortar location on Bethlehem’s South Side.
Husband-and-wife team Quartez and Veronica Moore first began operating Taste Smokers as a food truck in October 2018 on Water Street in Hellertown. Their love for BBQ began when Quartez developed a hobby of smoking meats for his friends and fraternity brothers. The hobby quickly grew into a passion that he and Veronica shared with their family, making smoked meats the highlight of each gathering. Their food truck, which is still in operation, can be found at some of the hottest breweries in the area, from Bethlehem to Emmaus to New Hope and the Philadelphia area.
In February of this year, Quartez and Veronica were approached with the idea of opening a storefront. Retail space was limited because of the pandemic, but the Moores were able to secure an ideal spot on Third Street.
“We are so blessed to be in this great space and surrounded by so many different cultures,” said Veronica, who referred to the area as Bethlehem’s “Cultural District.” Judging by the numerous cultures and cuisines present in the South Side–along with art venues and other attractions–it’s a name many think fits the area well.
Taste Smokers specializes in Chicago-style barbeque, which Veronica described as a combination of several different barbeque styles.
“Barbeque comes from all different parts of the country,” she explained. “When the South migrated North, they brought styles from Nashville, St. Louis and other cities. Chicago-style is barbeque fusion.”
The Taste Smokers menu features both barbeque classics, such as ribs and smoked salmon, as well as innovative flavor combinations, such as their mango pineapple slaw and Watcher’s baked beans. They go out of their way to accommodate dietary restrictions whenever possible. In addition to their partnership with Hop Hill Brewing in Lower Saucon Township, they have a tap room inside their brick-and-mortar location.
The behind-the-scenes of their kitchen, said Veronica, is extremely collaborative, with executive chef Daniel Kluemper creating many of the sides. The rest of their team–pit master Daniel Nielson, front-of-house manager Julian Lanfranco and hosts Jami Hart and Mark Campia–all share a close bond and passion for great food.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without our amazing staff!” she said.
In addition to delicious food, patrons can look forward to enjoying events and live music at Taste Smokers. For instance, their “Dinner and a Groovy” nights every Thursday feature hot live bands and specialized menus.
“We want to be a spot for artists to showcase their work,” Veronica said. She and the rest of the team are even developing a space within the restaurant for artists to hang their paintings and drawings.
Taste Smokers offers a membership program, the Taste Smokers Club, for an annual fee of $125. This membership includes access to two to three events per year, 10 percent off all merchandise and other perks.
Taste Smokers is located at 318 E. 3rd St. in Bethlehem and is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 9 p.m. Saturdays. Their “Dinner and a Groovy” nights take place every Thursday. They will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, but open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to curbside pickup, they plan to create an option for delivery with DoorDash.
Catering is available, and they accept all forms of payment except checks.
On-street parking as well as parking in municipal parking garages is available nearby.
Taste Smokers can be reached at 610-419-0281 and online at TheTasteSmokers.com.