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Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack
[closed, no longer in business]

6920 Marketplace Drive, Goleta
Phone: (805) 685-7300


Reviews by the General Public

A CW bar masquerading as a restaurant, 4/22/2014
Reviewer: Stu from Santa Barbara, CA
The corn bread (actually a corn muffin) was good. That's it. The salad bar looked ok. Sorry I didn't eat that instead of the meat. The baby back ribs were ok. The brisket, tritip and pulled pork were lousy. The Mac n cheese was bland. The diet coke was flat. The garlic bread was awful. The mixed bean salad was out of a jar with some bacon tossed in. The potato salad was made with horse raddish. The service was all right. The meats were all over cooked and dry. The bar-b-que sauce was not bad but it was nothing special. But I did enjoy the corn muffin.


I really wanted to love it....but :/, 4/11/2014
Reviewer: Jackie from Santa Barbara, CA
When I heard there was a new BBQ place in town I was so happy....But then I ate the food...I'm sooooo sorry, but the meat tasted very over smoked and the one thing you want from ribs is for the meat to fall of the bone...these were very tuff. Best thing I ate was the fries. Wish it would have been better :/ And the staff...The girls behind the register need to stop chatting and help people...and after a staff member brings you your food...you never see anyone again...It's just BBQ fast food...with a bar in it.


Second try,...still bad...I give up. , 3/22/2014
Reviewer: Madeline from Santa Barbara, CA
I want to be fair. Its a new restaurant and had just opened when we first tried it. It's now been six months and giving it a 2nd try. One thing has changed for the better....it is now a full service (in theory) restaurant. No more ordering at the front desk and then scampering un-assisted around the entire place looking for silverware & ordering drinks. If only our server had been attentive and checked on our table even once after delivering our food I would have been satisfied (she didn't). The food was plopped down and off she went never to be seen again. But the service is still not the biggest issue that I have with this restaurant. Its the over-all mediocre food. Our ribs came out lukewarm and grey. (grey!) no seasoning and no taste. Cornbread mini-muffins came out cold. Fried pickles where just mushy odd. Salad bar is still mediocre...go to any pizza parlor and you will find almost the same thing. So disappointing. A great BBQ place would be such a treat in Goleta. Hoping that someday one will open!!!


For once I'm not kvetching about the food, 3/12/2014
Reviewer: Rex Of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
Hoping that Chris' positive review of the SnB meant that things had improved, I went there today for lunch. Indeed, you no longer have to block foot traffic by ordering at the door immediately as you enter. There are allegedly servers now. I say "allegedly" because in the fifteen (15) minutes I sat there, someone who LOOKED like a server and was waiting on another table, walked directly past me eight (8) times, never once making eye contact. When I left, I told the very nice hostess at the cash register what had happened and that I was going to Chili's next door. She was very apologetic and didn't make me pay for my Diet Coke. I know I've said this before here regarding this restaurant, but this REALLY IS the last time I bother with it. I am very surprised it's still in business. At this rate, it won't be for long. I wish some enterprising restaurateur would open a decent barbecue place on the South Coast.


Fresh, tasty, and inexpensive -- time for another look, 3/11/2014
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
A lot has changed here since the reviews I read below. For one, you order at the table now, no long lines. The food has been consistently fresh and tasty over the several times I've been here. Friendly, polite service is a plus. Extensive menu with many meat options, *but* the salads are also very good -- they have a first-rate Caesar salad. Note that the happy hour has great deals: pulled pork tacos for $1.00. But all the menu items are very reasonably priced. My stepfather who is a BBQ fan really liked everything he tried. Clean, cheerful, casual decor, and not too loud despite the sports-bar like TV screens. This has become one of my lunchtime favorites, but it's also great for an inexpensive dinner with kids -- or just friends who like a deal.


Good But Could be Great, 2/16/2014
Reviewer: Goleta Gladiola from Goleta, CA
Dined for the first time at Smoke n' Barrel. The space is simple, clean and relaxed. Staff was polite and friendly from beginning to end of visit. I think this is a good concept with tons of potential to be great. I'm not the biggest fan of beef and pork, so I ordered a BLT, which was a nice, simple sandwich with good flavors. I was surprised that the fries that are used are shoestring-style. With the heft of the food items, a thicker cut fry seems like a better pairing. It may be beneficial for the restaurant to cut their potatoes onsite. The onion rings also seemed like they were purchased from Costco. Not horrible, but nothing special. Another item that could be made in-house and be fantastic. My husband had a platter with ribs (which he said were awesome), tri-tip (I had a small bite, it was pretty tasty) which he thought was excellent (he's more of the expert on tri-tip than me) . Another area of improvement, the garlic bread. It appeared and tasted like the type of bagged garlic bread that one can purchase from the market and heat in the oven. I would return to this establishment, probably for another BLT. I doubt the owner/s read these reviews, but if you do, take into consideration my suggestions, please! You have the potential to be fabulous with some adjustments!


Less than Impressed, 11/11/2013
Reviewer: Don from Goleta, CA
I expected more from a Holdren's run organization. First of all, who came up with the idea of ordering your meal at the front door? Any parties trying to enter the restaurant end up milling about the front door waiting to place their order. What is going to happen when it rains? I have friends who drove past the joint without stopping because of the line out the front door. The tri-tip tasted like it had been cooked a couple of days before and then reheated...tough as shoe leather and tasteless. The chicken however was great, tender and really tasty. We liked the cornbread but thought the salad bar lacking. Finally, we did not like the fact that one is not able to order beverages at the time food is ordered. You have to go to the bar to order drinks, meaning you have to pay (and tip!) twice. They need to rethink the whole concept.


Not what I expected..., 11/10/2013
Reviewer: Michel from Santa Barbara, CA
I went there with high hopes, thinking hopefully of Barbecue Bill's on the mesa some 40 years ago and its tasty pulled-pork sandwiches. I found a super-noisy sports bar, perhaps a good place to watch football, but the pulled pork was tasteless and un-sauced, the cornbread a weird mix of flavors, and the breakfast burrito large but peculiar; nothing appealed. Not a real "barbecue", in my opinion, and I won't be back.


Good Food and Service for the Price, 10/17/2013
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I recommend the Family Pack for a good sampling if you've got a couple of people and for each person to get a 1/4 rack of ribs, a 1/4 chicken, a sausage, pulled pork and three sides to share for $12 a person its a good deal. Does not really feed the 4-6 people it states unless you have small kids? The first time I went some food came out cold but recently everything was at a good temp so I hope they have figured that angle out now. People nice there and the setup is great for watching sports or for sitting outside in their comformtable outside area. Overall a good place to get some not too expensive bbq in that area for the family. Not sure if its worth a trip if from other areas.


Not your Mama's BBQ, 10/16/2013
Reviewer: Sylvia from Santa Barbara, CA
I was curious to try the new BBQ restaurant in Goleta for Lunch. I ordered the Campus Point Chicken sandwich, with pepper jack cheese. The sandwich was very dry, only one type of BBQ sauce was at the table. The BBQ bottle had crusted BBQ Sauce all over, seriously folks you need to clean the BBQ bottles more frequently. BBQ at Woody's is much tastier and they have more BBQ Sauce options. N


Mediocre at best, 10/15/2013
Reviewer: Simpleton from Santa Barbara, CA
Took the family on 10/12; palce was 2/3 full with lots of families. The orders are placed right by the door, so it looks like a line to get a table. I tried to order a beer with the food but had to order booze separately at the bar. Then we need to find silverware. Huh? Food arrived in about 15 minutes. My ribs were edible but tough. Sauce was out of a bottle. Coleslaw was from a bag and corn bread was like sweet cake; both went in the trash. Kids had brisket and it was juicy but weird...not smoked. Maybe baked? Chicken sandwich had good bread but was super bland except for huge slices of jalapeno (also from a can?) I honestly think they get most of their food from Sysco. Prediction: I'm pretty forgiving of mediocre food but unless they make a huge change they're out of biz in less than six months.


Need to go back to the drawing board, 10/1/2013
Reviewer: Brian from Santa Barbara, CA
Honestly, I'm finding it hard to recommend anything about this place. The food took a long time to come to the table and when it did it was lukewarm in temperature. We ordered the family platter to try lots of different stuff. The chicken was passable but the sauce was too sweet. The ribs were inedible. They didn't appear to be smoked at all. They were rubbery. The pulled pork was sitting in some liquid in a paper fries box. The sausage was probably the best thing but still rather tasteless. The hushpuppies did not resemble true hushpuppies at all. Concept is not working.


This ain't BBQ. , 9/29/2013
Reviewer: Sky from Santa Barbara, CA
Truly lousy food. Oily pulled pork, undercooked brisket, thin, tasteless sauce, not a smoker in sight. I was hoping for something decent, but a true disappointment all the way around. The self serve setup required hunting down silverware after waiting too long for the food as well. I love BBQ, but this wasn't it. SKIP IT.


quick stop, 9/26/2013
Reviewer: Jack from Santa Barbara, CA
Made a quick stop to get something to go.....The girl said 10 minutes.....Got it in 5. Liked the pickles.


Great experience, 9/25/2013
Reviewer: Gene from Santa Barbara, CA
Our first time their we were pleasantly surprised. loved the decor and the atmosphere. Our food was delicious and ample servings. The staff was very helpful and friendly. We will be back again to try the fried twinkies. They sound great. The ribs were tangy and delicious.The coleslaw was good and sufficient serving.


Great experience, 9/25/2013
Reviewer: Judy from Santa Barbara, CA
It just opened so it was our first time. My husband had the ribs ,mac&cheese corn bread. He was very happy with his food the ribs were delicious and the serving was very generous. I ordered brisket and ribs with coleslaw and garlic bread. We ordered the cobbler and ice cream for dessert it was very good and generous. Loved the casualness and all the different age people enjoying their meals. We will go back for sure. The prices were very good if you were still hungry you could order more for the prices.


Needs A LOT of work!!!!, 9/25/2013
Reviewer: Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
1st time here, place was packed! I was excited to try new BBQ place, since Woodys used to be favorite, but they seem to have given up on being great BBQ place. Food was well below average. First, & most importantly it came out COLD!! Like it had been sitting in service window for long period of time, or was poorly re-heated! Prices were ok, but portions were extremely small, especially the sides. I got cornbread & corn on the cob, all sides are $3. The corn on the cob was about the size of a D battery, & corn bread was like a mini muffin! These items cost the restaurant NOTHING!! Serve a full piece of corn & more than a nibble of cornbread! My wife had the salad bar, & it was less than impressive! Wilted lettuce, & few choices to choose from. Was smaller than Rustys Pizza salad bar! Servers, or counter help was very friendly, but after we sat down I was running around looking for silverware. There is NO SERVICE! But I don't think there is meant to be. Kinda confusing. I will try again in month, hopefully they can work some issues out. There were a lot of people in there, I just hope they weren't as disappointed as we were. Was like an expensive fast food restaurant.


Just when you think the portions can't get any smaller..., 9/24/2013
Reviewer: RexOfSB from Santa Barbara, CA
I've now been to S 'n B three times since it opened, and I'm finally done with it. I ordered the quarter-rack of ribs. This consisted of three (3) ribs (count 'em). The flavor was great, even though the ribs were tough and gristly. THREE ribs? C'mon! On the way home I stopped at The Habit, since I was still hungry. I really, really tried to like S 'n B, since we're in desperate need of a real barbecue restaurant on the South Coast, but it's like they're not even trying. Next time I'm in the neighborhood and am hungry, I'll go next-door to Chili's. Check, please!


Good experience., 9/22/2013
Reviewer: jec from Santa Barbara, CA
As a new restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised at the food and service.I thought the salad bar was excellent..almost as good a Chucks. They were extremely busy but the waiters were more than happy to help. Also, our family has diverse eating requirements. I was glad to see everyone had many choices. I am sure that this restaurant will be a "happening place" as they work out the "opening" hiccups. We will return.


Price point perfect, 9/22/2013
Reviewer: Dining Diva from Santa Barbara, CA
For this price point food was perfect. For being a newly opened restaurant, the service was great (it was PACKED in there). Love being able to order food and pay before you sit and WAIT for service!! I had The Campus Point with cornbread...sandwich was huge, tons of meat and bread was great. Husband had the two item BBQ platter which had ribs and pulled pork (he also had side of cornbread)....FOR THE PRICE, you CAN'T complain!!!!! Ribs were good, pulled pork was good and he had plenty of food! Our kids had chicken strips and fries(yum!). Our family of four ate for LESS than $40. Incredible deal for the quality of food we had. A MUST try!!!! Did I mention it was PACKED in there and our food was brought out in a timely manner....? I cannot believe people think they can get MORE for the PRICE POINT and COMPLAIN. Decor is great! Love the local vibe.


Why all of the bad reviews?, 9/22/2013
Reviewer: Bryan from Santa Barbara, CA
I went there on Saturday night and had a great meal. The ribs were out of this world, the salad bar was great, and the fried twinkies were something really different and great. The place was packed and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. I'm reading these reviews and wondering why everyone is bashing this place?? I thought it was great....


Don't go here!, 9/21/2013
Reviewer: Will from Santa Barbara, CA
We went the first night after we got an e-mail announcing their opening. We waited 27 minutes after ordering at the counter for our food. When it came, the salad had no dressing. The ribs were tasteless, and the beans were mushy. We had ordered a salad bar. The salad bar ranch dressing was empty, and several other items were empty, too. We asked 4 different waitresses to replenish the salad bar, but it did't happen. We finally asked the manager for a refund, and told her about our complaints. She said they were having problems with both the salad bar and the service. We went to Pastavino when it was in the same location, and had pretty much the same experience. I don't think having 2 restaurants operate out of the same kitchen works very well.


Disappointment in a 2oz cup, 9/20/2013
Reviewer: Max from Santa Barbara, CA
Be careful portion sizes vary wildly. Things like pulled pork, triptip are served in 2oz condiment cups. The cornbread is slightly larger than mini muffin sized, garlic bread bread is more like 1 piece of cut up toast. Chicken and Ribs are decent portions. If you ordered say a 2 item with cornbread and coleslaw you would end up with 8oz of food / 3 condiment cups and 1 mini muffin that could easily fit in the palm of your hand. Some of these items are shockingly small like off the kiddie menu small. Tri-tip was soggy and broken apart in what tasted like chili bean juice .. disappointing to say the least. Mac and Cheese is soupy and lacking of cheese flavor. Rib's were good as well as the corn bread.


Wonderful staff- So So Food, 9/20/2013
Reviewer: s. from Santa Barbara, CA
Ordered the family dinner which includes the following for 29.95: Ribs, chicken and pulled pork along with 3 sides which we ordered hush puppies, coleslaw and ranch beans. Ribs were burnt on one side, pulled pork cold, chicken undercooked, beans cold and very bland, coleslaw under seasoned and hush puppies raw in center. And presentation needs some work. The gals that work there are very sweet and attentive but food needs a lot of work. Really hoping for a successful BBQ place in Goleta.


A bit odd but hoping for improvement..., 9/20/2013
Reviewer: Madeline from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a mixed experience at this new restaurant and am hoping that things improve. Because of of the oddity of how some things are done, guessing its not owned by experienced restauranteurs. Ribs were good, mac n'cheese tasty, but served with cold cornbread, some of the meats served in tiny ramikins(!) . Its a no service, no frills place, they didn't even hand out wipes after the meal. Self serve drinks, get your own silverware. All would be fine except that the front staff doesn;t tell you this...you just have to wonder around fiquring it out on your own and keep getting up during your meal to hunt stuff down. Place was almost empty and yet the manager (owner?) did not come by our table to check on us. (no one did). Hmmm......


Too much bread, too-small portions, but I'll try it again, 9/20/2013
Reviewer: Rex of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
The brisket sandwich was nice, although quite dry. It was served on a huge, hard-ish roll which was WAY too big. There was surprisingly little meat in the sandwich. The meat/bread ratio appeared to be 80% bread, 20% brisket. The sauce was very nice, though, as was the brisket itself. The potato salad side order came in a very dinky little plastic cup that was way too small. I actually walked away hungry. Some suggestions: (1)Replace the hard roll with a kaiser roll or hamburger bun; (2)Larger portions of meat; (3)Larger portions of potato salad (with maybe a tad less vinegar). I realize that all new restaurants need to work out kinks, so I'll definitely give Smoke 'n Barrel another chance. Even with its hiccups, it's far better than Woody's.


What a shame, 9/19/2013
Reviewer: Cris from Santa Barbara, CA
This place is terrible. Who serves Tri-Tip in a Ramekin?!? A Ramekin! They served me soggy Tri-Tip in a ramekin filled 1/3 full with liquid. It might as well been Brisket. They served my combo plate on a giant aluminum serving tray with a plastic cold slaw cup and two ramekins for pulled pork and tri-tip.


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