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Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 | 4 comments

Sublime Smoke: Brisket and Beer in Bolivar, Ohio

Sublime Smoke: Brisket and Beer in Bolivar, Ohio

Pardon our late-summer hiatus from the blog; these past few weeks we’ve been traveling near and far, enshrining men in gold {we’re from Canton after all!}, and generally soaking up every last drop of summer.

But we’ve also been exploring new gems to share with you, too – like a fantastic and {relatively} new barbeque spot I stumbled upon 20 minutes south of Canton. It’s called Sublime Smoke, and it’s just a turn or two off  I-77 in the tiny town of Bolivar. Truth be told, I’ve passed the exit to Bolivar at least 100 times, but always on the way to Somewhere Else.


This time, however, brisket and craft beer beckoned. Sublime Smoke occupies the first floor of an old house in historic downtown Bolivar. I use the word ‘downtown’ loosely; it’s only a few short blocks. Like some of the spots we’ve written about south of Canton {Bread Head Bakery and Park Street Pizza come to mind} Sublime Smoke is doing some cool stuff in the ‘small city.’ Not surprisingly, the owner of Sublime Smoke is a seasoned chef who spent the past few years running a food truck in the Columbus area before moving back home.

The short menu quickly covers a range of styles; we quickly picked up on influences from our own BBQ experiences: Texas (beef brisket) and Georgia (pork and bitter greens). They smoke their meats on premises – chicken, pork, beef brisket, and ribs – so you know it’s the real deal. Futureman gave Sublime Smoke high marks for serving its brisket sandwiches ‘moist,’ which sounds repulsive, but is really the only way you should order it: with the fat left on the meat. For years, in my forever-attempt to be healthy or something, we’d visit Futureman’s family in San Antonio, and I’d be the only one in the whole darn city ordering my brisket lean, until I saw the light {or tasted the fat, as the case may be}.


I ordered the pork sundae; not only is it their house specialty, but it reminded me of the lunch platters I’d get visiting my grandparents in Atlanta. It wasn’t as indulgent as it could’ve been given the name, and that’s a good thing. The ‘sundae’ is actually a bowl of spoonbread {cross between cornbread and corn pudding}, topped with collard greens, topped with vinegar slaw, topped with pulled pork, topped with my choice of four BBQ sauces. OK, so it was pretty indulgent…and tasty. I was excited to see someone attempting collard greens in these parts; they’re a terribly underrated vegetable outside of the south.


Also on our table was a special – the Short Rib Burger with caramelized onions and brisket gravy, which Futureman said was ‘brilliant’ both in terms of flavor and juiciness — as well as Southern-style baked mac and cheese casserole, which I loved but could see others disliking, especially if you like your mac and cheese on the creamy side. And, of course, there was craft beer. They have an impressive selection with over 50 different bottles available, plus several more on tap which can be taken to-go in growlers. It was good to see local breweries like Millersburg in the mix with some of our non-local faves like Ommegang and Left Hand Brewing.



Did I mention we also ordered a piece of homemade peanut butter pie?


The vibe is on point – hardwood floors, high ceilings, metal chairs and stools, menu on a chalkboard, inviting exterior. It’s an order-at-the-counter deal, like you might expect from a BBQ joint, and the counter and beer cooler take up most of the space. You  can take a seat inside at a couple of high-tops or a large farmhouse table that seats about eight. Outside are another two-top and four picnic tables in a beer-garden area, which was perfect for our messy crew. I tell you this so you can plan – if the weather’s nice, you won’t have a problem with seating. If it’s indoor weather, just know there’s only seating for about 12.  The owner told us he does a brisk take-out business in the colder months, especially since patrons can get dinner and delicious beer in one stop.




Overall, we look forward to visiting Sublime Smoke again. It’s out of the way for us, for sure, but one of those perfect places for when we want to take a little drive, or when Futureman’s craving for Texas beef brisket strikes. Oh, and they still do mobile catering, too! Yes, I might already be scheming on how to book them for my next work or personal function… :)

Closed Sunday and Monday
110 Water St. SE
Bolivar, OH 44612
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  1. Our brisket was pretty dry there. Our friend got ribs and 2 sides with a beer and it came to $40. He said it was OK at best but certainly not worth 40 bucks. We had lunch there on a weekday, the food seemed reheated but I could be wrong.

    • That’s disappointing to hear; I hope it was just an off-day. Our brisket was quite the opposite – very moist! Our family ate there for about $60, including beers for the two adults. Definitely not cheap, but pretty typical of the places we frequent.

  2. Can’t wait to try this!

  3. OK this looks DIVINE!!! We will be making the trip soon…you always discover the best places


  1. Dough Co. Doughnuts & Coffee | Dover, Ohio - […] down that way to visit friends and family, the area doesn’t surface as a go-to, and it should. Sublime …

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