Thursday, December 8, 2022

Drum roll please: Toano smokehouse plans major expansion

A popular Toano smokehouse plans to seat more people and diversify its menu upon completion of a major expansion.

Two Drummers Smokehouse, located at 8864 Richmond Road, has served up barbecue and southern cuisine since 2013. Co-owner and chef Jason Wade said business is “explosive” and Two Drummers wants to keep up with the demand.

“We are making miracles happen out of a small little galley kitchen,” Wade said. “We want to bring our kitchen up to the standard the business demands, particularly for catering as well as weekend business.”

Two Drummers inherited its kitchen from Hog Wild Smokehouse, which occupied the space from 2005 to 2013. Two Drummers offered a breakfast menu for a short time. but the kitchen was too small to handle both breakfast and lunch orders on weekends, Wade said.

This concept art for Two Drummers Smokehouse in Toano shows two angles of the property entrance. (Image courtesy of James City County)
This concept art of an expanded Two Drummers Smokehouse in Toano shows two angles of entrance to the property. (Image courtesy of James City County)

With a larger kitchen, Wade said Two Drummers will bring back breakfast dishes and introduce new menu options like seafood.

MM&W Properties, LLC, which owns the land on which Two Drummers is located, has applied for a special-use permit to expand the restaurant by 5,223 square feet.

The James City County Planning Commission recommended approval of the permit in May. It is tentatively set to go before the JCC Board of Supervisors later this month.

In addition to the kitchen improvements, the proposed expansion would increase indoor seating at Two Drummers from 80 people to about 150. The restaurant’s bar, one its most popular seating areas, would be enlarged from the current 12 seats to about 22, Wade said.

For Wade and his brother and co-owner, Jon, it’s important that they maintain the “quaint and cute” feel of their restaurant as it grows.

“When people come here they go, ‘This is so unexpected,’ ” Wade said. “We still want to be that. Still off the beaten path, but at the same time we want to have enough seats to accommodate everyone who will come in.”

Also as part of the expansion project, the restaurant’s parking lot would be relocated to rear of the building and a turn lane would be added for drivers entering the property. MM&W Properties intends to cover the cost of those improvements, which Wade said would be a tremendous help.

“It’s what’s making it happen,” Wade said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

The cost of the expansion has yet to be determined, but Wade said he hopes to keep it under $500,000. The goal is to have the project completed within two years, he added.

Three years ago the brothers could not imagine their business would take off as it has or that they’d be talking about expanding, Wade said.

“We have to pinch ourselves and say, ‘We’re not sure why, we’re not sure how, but we’re so grateful,’ ” he said.

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