If only the walls could talk at 1901 Sherman Avenue, where Relic Smokehouse & Pub recently revamped the wooden Quonset hut originally built for troops at Farragut Naval Station. The walls would talk of long-ago bar fights, when the place was known as Lake City Saloon, and echo the sounds of endless loads being washed and dried in the laundromat once housed there.
Since the building was transported from the base to East Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene several decades ago, it has been many businesses, including another barbecue place. New owners Todd and Michele Clark are giving the old relic of a building new life as a family-friendly restaurant featuring from-scratch appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrées.
Todd, a journeyman electrician, is in his element at Relic because he gets to cook, a lot: up to 500 pounds of meat at a time in their smoker, says wife Michele, who has 38 years in the restaurant industry, most of those spent launching new restaurants like the Four Seasons in Hawaii.
Rather than choose a single style of barbecue sauce, such as Kansas City (tangy, sweet and tomatoey) or Carolina (with vinegar and chile flakes), Relic serves the meat "naked," as they call it, allowing you to apply your own sauce (or not). Try the brisket ($13.50) with mild sauce or the Messy Pig (marinated pulled pork) with the honey mustard sauce ($9). Save the really hot sauce for the smoked chicken halves ($13.50). Entrées are served with two sides, such as baked beans with bacon, corn on the cob or coleslaw.
The Clarks brine their own pork belly for the bacon that wraps the smokin' hot Moose Turds — jalapeños stuffed with cayenne pepper cream cheese ($7.50/$14) — and the BLT ($8.50). Salmon is another popular appetizer, served smoked with crackers and cream cheese ($12).
On weekends, head to Relic for an unadvertised special: smoked prime rib, which Michele says is packing the house. Or, as they say on their menu: all fired up and kicking ash. ♦
Relic Smokehouse & Pub • 1901 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene • Open Tue-Thu and Sun, 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-midnight • facebook.com/therelicsmokehouse • 208-966-4082