smokestaq lightning photo courtesy of google maps

Five Aces Bar-B-Que team opens Smokestaq Lightning on Laclede's Landing in downtown St. Louis

Laclede’s Landing just got a little more delicious. A new barbecue joint, Smokestaq Lightning, from Shaw’s now-departed Five Aces Bar-B-Que, is in its soft launch at 724 N. First St. 

Co-owner Latoshia Ellis told the RFT that Smokestaq Lightning first opened its doors in late December 2023 and is serving lunch 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with the goal of being full service in the spring. Like Five Aces, the new concept from Ellis and her husband Antonio is centered around what she calls authentic St. Louis barbecue. 

“We smoke foods the old-school way, like over open flame using charcoal and wood,” she explains. “So we’re down here on Laclede’s Landing and just bringing authentic smoke and flavor to the St. Louis area.”

Ellis’ favorite menu item right now is the smoked brisket Philly, which is basically what it sounds like. It subs smoked brisket for the original rib-eye steak, which “just takes it up another level.”

Other menu items include fried wings, rib tips, baby back ribs, burgers, pulled-meat sandwiches, sides and more — all of which can be ordered ahead of time through Smokestaq’s website.

The restaurant’s name, Ellis says, is an homage to the food and the eatery’s location in a historic building full of old wood.

“We're right here on the muddy Mississippi on the riverfront, and we love blues music,” she says. “We have a little stage here, and we plan on having live music and things like that. One of our old favorite blue singers is Howlin’ Wolf, the song ‘Smokestack Lightning’ was the old blues classic. And so we thought about [how] our grill has a huge smokestack on it. … We're bringing the smoke, we're bringing in lightning, all down to the riverfront.”

The couple previously owned Five Aces Bar-B-Que at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Lawrence Street. The two took up the reins there after buying out what was then Mama Josephine's in 2016 from Mary Samuelson. They continue to operate a food truck under the name.

Keep an eye on Smokestaq’s social media profiles for details about the full opening.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.