Restaurant Review: Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ Tallahassee, FL

up in smoke

Location: 402 E. Tennessee Street Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850)597-7964
Dinner Prices: Meals – $8.00 to $16.00
Current Special: None

Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ – a new BBQ restaurant that has opened on arguably the busiest street in Tallahassee. This new BBQ restaurant comes shortly after the closing of another (Famous Dave’s). How does this BBQ place stack up? Find out in my full review…

Atmosphere: I am going to get this out of the way at the beginning. The coolest part about the atmosphere of Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ is the sign outside. The sign outside smokes. This sign instantly puts you in the mood for BBQ. The rest of the atmosphere is passable. The restaurant is dark and plain looking. It seems like they couldn’t decide what the restaurant should look like. It is not bad atmosphere, it’s just nothing special.


The atmosphere gets a 2.5 out of 5.

Service: Although this restaurant is fairly new there are quite a few customer reviews on sites such as yelp. The theme that is consistent among those reviews is poor service. The owner even replied to a few reviews apologizing, and stating that they are still learning and that conditions will approve.

I am happy to report that, at least during my experience, the service was great. Our server was friendly, she was knowledgeable about the menu, and the food came out quickly. I appreciated that the waitress was able to make recommendations and provide details about the menu.

The service gets a 4.5 out of 5.

Food: The food can be summed up as good, with moments of genius, but inconsistent.

We started with an appetizer of fried breaded bacon with a sugar cane sauce. Some of it was pretty great. The breading, bacon, and sauce had a nice flavor. It was super crispy. I had 2 problems with the dish though. Some of the bacon was burnt. The other problem was the sauce. Although it tasted great, it was so thin I felt it was difficult to get enough on the dish itself.


The restaurant offers 4 house made BBQ sauces. The choices include sweet, spicy, mustard and regular. BBQ sauce is hard to judge because everyone has a different preference. To me, all of the sauces are good but none of them are amazing.  The weakest sauce was the spicy and my favorite was the sweet. All of the sauces have a cinnamon taste to them. It was a nice twist but there was too much of it. Overall, I did enjoy these sauces, but I have had better.


For my main course I ordered a BBQ plate. This including 2 meats, 2 sides, and a bread. For me this meant Spare ribs, brisket, onion rings, pretzel mac + cheese, and Texas toast.

I really enjoyed the meats on the place. Both the ribs and the brisket had a nice smoke flavor. They also had great seasoning. The spare ribs were very tender. The brisket could have stood to be a little more tender; I like my brisket to melt in my mouth. The excellent flavors on these meats were more than enough to keep me coming back.

The side dishes were a mixed bag. Let’s start with the mac and cheese. I liked the cheese flavor and the spiral pasta choice. There was an inconsistent use of seasoning in the dish though. The top of the pasta was bland but the bottom had a lot of flavor. It was like it wasn’t mixed properly. The pretzel on top half worked as well. The crunch of the pretzel (and salt) added something to the dish, but some of the pretzels tasted stale. Although I prefer a battered onion rings, these were good. I kept eating them. They had a natural onion flavor to them as well. They could have used a little more salt but otherwise they were great. Finally, the texas toast was filled with butter and garlic flavor. Just the kind of texas toast I enjoy.


I am giving the food a 3.5 out of 5, but I feel the food has the potential to be a 4.5 out 5 if a few kinks are ironed out (they are a new restaurant after all).                                                       

Overall: I feel this review was a little negative. There were a lot of small things that do need to be addressed and fixed. But, as I said above, restaurants do not always open smoothly. I look forward to going back to Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ  and giving them another shot. Their moments of brilliance make it worth it.

Up In Smoke BBQ on Urbanspoon

For now, a 3 out of 5.

  • I know you say your review is on the negative side, but you really did end it on a hopeful note. I would definitely be willing to try this place, though I’m not sure I could order the fried breaded bacon app with a straight face. I’ll have to keep my eye out for that smoking sign next time I drive by it, too.

    • Chuck

      Dropped by mid afternoon. 3 customers. Took waiter 5 mins yo get me water…should of left then. Ordered $10 Carolina Pulled pork plate… Slaw (ok) fried sweet pot fries plus $1.
      Please… Dont embarrass the BBQ State. Sad attempt. (sauce had to be 99% Dales Seasoning & 1 % salt). Couldnt finish it. Brought remainder home.. Daughter tasted it “too salty”. I wont go back  But Nice sign out front

  • Mike

    Hmmm. I will offer a slightly different opinion if I may? I can’t say my first experience was good with customer service. They bordered on disaster but ended well. They are new and I would give them a pass, just once. The one issue I have with your review is the opinion of the sauces. To me, they were fabulous, and a real strong point for the place. The Sweet is one of the best BBQ sauces I’ve ever had, anywhere, from Oklahoma to North Carolina, to Florida and between. I do agree the spicy was probably the weakest. I also loved the Mac n Cheese. It was just the way I like it and the pretzel was a nice twist. Perhaps your batch wasn’t mixed well. Anyway, enjoyed the review, and I look forward to my next trip back. Hopefully they get a few of the issues straightened out, as new places in Tallahassee don’t last long with a poor start.

  • Shannon Sullivan

    Is this a FRANCHISE BBQplace ?? have you ever had good franchise BBQ ? I tried take out last Wednesday night. After O ordered I figured I would have a quick beer in the bar. NOT. Totally ignored as I walked back and forth behind some frat guys all but waving money in the air. gave up.
    Finally my food came and I took it home. Kind of looked like the ONLY time I went to Smokey Bones. I big bunch of extremely disappointing food. Exception being the Beans. I think the coleslaw came out of a bag. If you are going to make cole slaw make it homemade and GREAT. It is not rocket science. Just watch the FOOD CHANNEL or Google coleslaw and get 100’s different styles.
    BEEF BRISKET,, dry and cut in thin strips. tasteless. Pulled pork. A little better but not what I would expect from a place that is cooking there own meat all day if they are.
    Ahh the SAUCES. Horrible, just HORRIBLE .. especially the spicy. thin and with some strange taste. I would take that off the menue IMMEDIATLY. The mustartd sause was OK at best. I have dozens that were much better. I doubt it is made from scratch daily like at a real BBQ place You really need to start over , but if this IS a franchise that will be hard to do.
    Finally the FLOOR was as SLIPPERY as an ice rink. I was just sliding around. Has anyone fallen yet ?
    Let me know when changes are made and then I will be back.
    Shannon Sullivan