Frey Smoked Meat Co. (4141 Bienville St., 504-488-7427), a new barbecue restaurant from Rue 127 chef Ray Gruezke, is open in Mid-City.
The restaurant is a Gruezke family affair, and it's not their first time behind the smoker: their Hogs for the Cause team has competed for several years at the annual charity competition and the cook-off was the inspiration for the new restaurant.
Smoked meats are the focus of the expansive menu, which includes a variety of barbecue platters with pork belly, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, sausage and beef ribs. Sides range from braised green beans and coleslaw to grilled cabbage, baked beans, grits and Texas toast. The menu also includes a long list of burger "fatties" (the mac-n-burger is topped with jalapeno macaroni and cheese), smoked oyster salad, pepper jelly-glazed pork belly poppers and a fried chicken sandwich with Sriracha aioli.
There are eight beers on tap and a large selection of bottled beers, as well as lots of whiskeys. The restaurant's house margarita, the Hogarita, features a smoked salt rim, and proceeds from sales of the drink go to Hogs for the Cause, an organization focusing on pediatric brain cancer.
The family-friendly spot has seating for about 120 people and retractable windows that open to a large patio. It's the newest addition to the Mid-City Market complex, which also houses Winn-Dixie, Five Guys, Felipe's Mexican Taqueria, Mr. Ed's Oyster Bar and Fish House and other businesses.
The new restaurant's namesake is Gruezke's great-great-grandfather Andreas Frey, a 19th-century butcher who peddled his smoked meats and sausages door-to-door and at the French Market.
"We're a family business all the way," Gruezke's brother, Andrew, says. "For years we had talked about teaming up and opening up a restaurant, and now we're extremely happy to be a part of the neighborhood and a part of the Mid-City revitalization."