Smokehouse Grille Finds New Home in Seminole Heights
Seminole Heights is home to yet another soul food establishment.
The latest installment of soul food in the Seminole Heights area is unique in that it could be gone at a moment's notice.
The Smokehouse Grille food truck is not just an established slinger of burgers and ribs, it's a FEMA contracted food provider for first responders in disaster stricken areas.
"We're here until something happens and we have to go," owner of Smokehouse Grille Jerry Cook said. "We went to Louisiana after Katrina and worked there for a long time. We go anywhere FEMA needs us."
Cook has spent ten years driving the truck to provide food in emergency situations, but over the last two weeks he has been parked at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Tampa Street.
"It's a busy intersection so we're doing okay," Cook said. "My friendship with the owner of Galaxy Fireworks is what brought me to this spot. We've been all over Tampa, but I think this is a good location for us. People from the neighborhood have been coming to check us out."
The former boxer and eventual owner of a trucking company came to Tampa in the 60s, but came in off the road and sold his business a decade ago to care for his then sick wife. He picked up cooking out of boredom and decided to make a business out of it. Now he owns five trucks and is in the process of plotting out his next location.
"We're looking at setting up another one at the corner of Sligh and Rome Avenue," Cook said. "It's just something I've enjoyed doing. I got into this cause I was bored after coming in off the road. I felt like there was a demand for this menu and it's food I like. My brother sends me down apple wood from Kentucky that we use in our smoker. It gives everything we smoke a unique flavor."
At present, Smokehouse Grille is not allowed to put any tables on the property due to a city ordinance that prevents the truck from being considered a sit down restaurant.
Smokehouse Grille is open from 10 a.m.-10p.m.