Southern Pacific Smokehouse Announces Closure

Closure is confirmed with signage on a dark building, posted on its Facebook page

restaurant, opened to great fanfare this spring in Novato, announced its closure Tuesday night on its Facebook page with a two-sentence statement and a sign on the door.

"We are deeply sorry to announce we have closed. It was an honor to serve you, and the restaurant hopes to reopen as soon as possible," stated the note on Facebook.

A note taped on the door of the darkened building said the restaurant was closed until further notice.

The closure came nine weeks after a so-so review in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Opened last May in the former Shane Co. jewelers building at , the barbecue and live music venue was a for managing partner Rick Riess and his team.

The 9,100-square-foot restaurant featured a barbecue menu, bar and a separate music venue that was homebase to Phil Claypool, country singer and minority-interest owner.

Facebook comments are expressing disapointment at the loss of the restaurant to Novato's dining scene. This has been a year of restaurant closures that included , and (Grazie reopened under new management).

Calls to the restaurant are going to voicemail, and there is no mention of cancellations to the music venue's event calendar, including the New Year's Eve event with the Tickets Band that was scheduled for Dec. 31.

has stepped up to honor a portion of Southern Pacific Smokehouse gift certificates through the end of January, a move it made when Grazie Cafe first closed. According to an e-mail from Finnegan's management, the staff will honor any Smokehouse gift certificate up to 50 percent of its face value with a maximum of $25 per table.

It is unknown whether other restaurants will step up and match the Finnegan's offer.

Update: and the Two will honor any Smokehouse gift certificate for the month of January and February up to 50% of its face value with a maximum of $25 dollar per table and with a minimum check average of $75 per table. This can not be combined with any other promotions.

at 7416 Redwood Blvd., has also notified Novato Patch that they will be honoring Smokehouse gift certificates through February for up to 50% of the face value, maximum $25 dollar per table with a minimum check average of $75 per table.

has also let Patch know they will accept Pacific Smokehouse gift card/certificates for 50% of the value with a $25 maximum and a minimum of $75 check. They can not be combined with any other promotion or discount.

Lloyd December 28, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Good one C that's the best comment I've heard yet. The service was unprofessional, prices slightly high and the food was just ok. I think the dancing and music would have made the difference. I also can't believe they weren't better bankrolled and didn't react better to correct what appears to be a public perception of the negatives. Losing restaurants that have the potential is a real shame for our town.
Born & raised December 28, 2011 at 05:16 PM
In regards to Eileen Plunketts comment, Occupy Smokehouse! Nice conspiracy theory. Sports Authority sells tents if you need one. Well played Finnegans, well played!
Leda December 28, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I had yet to go there myself, but heard that the bar/music scene was great and the food/service was disappointing. I find it really sad for the owners and the community to see this place closed. I hope the owners listen to all the comments here and re-open with a dance floor and the other improvements suggested. Good luck!
JoEllen Ussery December 28, 2011 at 06:30 PM
We never went. Restaurants in malls aren't dreadfully appealing and the one "show" I was interested in seeing was $25 or $30? Sorry... but that's too expensive for a venue in Novato to see a local performer. As far as the comment above about the lights flashing on and off... There was a brown out going on a week or so ago in that area, bet that was the same night. It's always sad to see a business fail. Novato has always had a difficult time holding on to good restaurants & when exactly was the last time some sort of club was here? We do eat out in town close to every week. We've got a few great places here and want to see them continue.
Donna December 28, 2011 at 06:33 PM
I would have been really angry if I hadn't already spent $85 of the $100 gift certificates I purchased! Nice of Finnegans but still only worth 1/2 the money. I think I go to Finnegans anyway and patronize their establishment to show my appreciation for the offer. I hope someone will open another restaurant in that location. Here's my 2cents: Offer more items than what the Smokehouse had on the menu. No italian food, Novato has enough of that. SEAFOOD is what Novato needs. The live venue is a great idea, but please no more than a $5.00 cover (we are still pulling out of a recession and drinks are expensive enough).
Pi Ivy December 28, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Seriously? No....I mean....seriously?
Pi Ivy December 28, 2011 at 06:47 PM
agreed, NovatoGuy. I ate there once, wrote a Yelp review on it, got invited by the teenager playing manager to give them another chance, and had an actually worse experience than the first.
Kevin December 28, 2011 at 06:51 PM
What's going to be the real story here? It seems that two of the owners (Rick Riess and Carrie C)have been gone for a while now and that Phillip Claypool was the only one left. What happened? The food needed consistantcy and nobody wants to pay a $15 cover charge to see the bands play.
Amy Wigton December 28, 2011 at 08:02 PM
I was very excited about the prospect of a new music venue in town. I went to their very first show and a couple after that. The music room sounded awesome! I expressed my enthusiasm and didn't seem to get a warm fuzzy back from it's manager. Being in the music community I did not hear glowing reports about how musicians were treated. It's really too bad when something that could have been a wonderful asset didn't want to make itself accessible. The vibe was like a "closed club" feel. I really hope whatever happens in the future that the owners and managers try to cultivate something warm and inviting for Novato, the county and for it's abundance of talented musicians and performers.
Peaceman December 28, 2011 at 08:07 PM
I'm a bit surprised. The couple of times we tried go go there there it was busy and the wait was too long for us. We did have reservations for this NYE and were bummed about the closing - I give them credit for having the class to phone last night and tell us it was canceled. Anyone got an idea for another NYE venue with C&W dancing?
sheri December 28, 2011 at 08:19 PM
What do they mean by "until further notice" ??? Are they restructuring and revamping like what the owners of Pasta Moto did with what is now called Tavola?(http://marinscope.com/articles/2011/07/20/all/lifestyles/doc4e27141f94d5d752776867.txt) Why is there no clarification as to what is going on and the reason? I never ate there (too pricey) but I followed them on FB during their construction. There was such a buzz. What happened:
Spill the Wine December 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM
We are thrilled to announce our show at the Southern Pacific Smokehouse on Friday 1/6/12 has been moved to Finnegan's! Even better, there will be NO COVER for this show. Put your dancing shoes on and come out to Finnegan's on 1/6 to dance with Spill the Wine!
Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara December 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM
Hi all - we added an update that Boca will also be honoring gift cards at 50% of the value.
Born & raised December 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM
Last club was TJ's on the Boulevard on Redwood and Lamont.
Charles Thompson December 29, 2011 at 12:18 AM
I am disappointed to see yet another Novato restaurant close (maybe this one is only a temporary closure). We had such high hopes for the SoPac Smokehouse since being from the south, we've sampled BBQ from Memphis, New Orleans and little podunk places throughout Florida -- the ones with the wobbly tables and wooden booths. I thought having separate areas for dining and music was a goog idea -- for quiet tables and outdoor dining, go to the left; for music and dancing, head toward the right. The major downside (the most important component) was that the BBQ simply didn't have the wow factor. We steered right back to the California Grill on South Novato Blvd. I still have two gift certificates for the Smokehouse bought at Costco, so I'll try Finnegans as well (thanks for at least offering 50%).
Tracey Ruiz December 29, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Chianti Cucina at 7416 Redwood Boulevard in Novato will also be honoring Smokehouse gift certificates at 50% of the face value. The article has been updated with the details.
Susan Wreden December 29, 2011 at 04:34 AM
I'm bummed. They had great food, and now I'm stuck with $230 of worthless gift certificates.
Baxter December 29, 2011 at 06:13 AM
Gift certificates to Southern Pacific Roadhouse puchased at Costco will return your money if you have the receipts. My husband took back a bunch today that he had purchased for me at Costco a few months back (and we never got the chance to use.) He also stopped by the Pacific Smokehouse today and was told by a supervisor on site that on Friday at 11:00 a.m. one of the owners would be at the restaurant to answer questions and concerns from the public and possibly reimburse any gift certificates. In any event, you could always go to Finnegans or one of the other restaurants mentioned above for a great meal and good time.
RJM December 29, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Wow , its great to see all these other places fight to accept gift certificates at 50% of the face value , buisness must be slow all over and the markup high.
Tracey Ruiz December 29, 2011 at 08:10 PM
The Marin IJ was able to contact Phil Claypool but the musician wouldn't give any details on the closure. http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_19633560
Tavola Italian Kitchen December 29, 2011 at 08:44 PM
We are dedicated to the people of Marin. At Tavola Italian Kitchen we are committed to locally sourced and sustainable produce, meats, ceramics and flowers are supplied by our community of artisans, farmers, and purveyors. We will accepting gift cards through February to take supporting our community one step further. Happy New Year!
Novatan December 29, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Novato Chess Club December 30, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I liked Moylan's anyway---that place was way too rich for Novato
susan fischer January 02, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Very nice of these locol restaurants to come forward to partially honor gift certificates - but what are the owners of Smokehouse doing about them? ESPECIALLY the ones they had just sold in December!! A friend said - it feels like a crime - IT IS A CRIME!!!
Craig Belfor January 02, 2012 at 06:12 AM
The fixtures are going to auction next week, according to a classified ad in the IJ. Someone will score a restaurant without the overhead, as I said in an earlier post. Wouldn't it be weird if it was a new group composed of the old investors? It's happened before.
Novato Chess Club January 02, 2012 at 04:30 PM
@ Craig and maybe they can create a dining / jazz / entertainment venue /restaurant that is suitable for the Novato community...
Just Curious January 02, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I just read the Sf Chron article which goes on to state the very obvious. They didn't have enough cash reserves, over-estimated the market, had mediocre food, way poor and unseasoned wait staff, high prices and the cover for the live music was too high for unknown bands. Seems to me they built a really nice restaurant but for people that are supposed to understand how to make a business work they seemed a little "not up " to the task. Hopefully someone can come in and make this wonderful physical facility into a winning restaurant.
Pi Ivy January 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
C. Richards: You have a point, but this restaurant was never really about food, imo. The food was decent enough, but these guys were trying to create a supper club atmosphere with their twenty different vodkas and ridiculous well pricing. I called this in my yelp review shortly after it opened: Poorly conceived and poorly managed.
Craig Belfor January 02, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Great food, 100 different vodkas, sounds like Brendan Moylans deal in Larkspur Landing that ended. Maybe too high class for Hicksville.
Mike Schmike November 08, 2012 at 10:51 PM
It's about to happen. Hopmonk Tavern is opening their 3rd location here. The two up in Sonoma county are a hit. I think you'll like the one there. No, I don't work for and am not affiliated with Hopmonk in any way. Just like the food, beer, music in the beer garden. Enjoy!


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