The Smoke House & Black Axe Co. will open later this year at 9 N. Main Street in Downtown Temple. The building will feature barbecue, six axe-throwing lanes, and a wine and beer bar.
Bill Mulholland scrapes plywood from the wooden-plank floor at 9 N. Main. The building will be home to The Smoke House barbecue cafe and Black Axe. Business owners hope to open by late summer or early fall. David Stone photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Two popular trailer-based businesses are moving indoors.
Bill’s Smoke Wagon, formerly located at The Yard food truck plaza, and Black Axe Company are turning a Downtown building into a barbecue and axe-throwing experience that likely will open later this year.
“I was hoping for an April 1 opening, but obviously that didn’t happen,” said Bill Mulholland of Bill’s Smoke Wagon. “Now I’m shooting for the fall.”
While Bill’s Smoke Wagon grew a strong following while at The Yard, Black Axe is known as Temple’s first axe-throwing trailer and has been a popular stop during First Friday festivities.
The Smoke House will occupy 4,700 square feet at 9 N. Main Street in Temple, and the building will feature a 15-foot beer and wine bar that wraps around two of the six axe-throwing lanes.
“The front of the building will be mostly glass,” Mulholland said while scraping the building’s wooden floor. “I’m trying to keep everything else as original as possible. Most of this floor is in good shape and so is the ceiling.”
Lindsey Blackwell, co-owner of Black Axe along with husband Ken, said the front of the building will have glass roll-up, garage-style doors that can be raised during mild weather.
While The Smoke House menu is still under development, two specialty items are sure to make the cut.
“We may sell by the plate or maybe by the pound,” Mulholland said. “I’m not sure about that yet, but we will have our BBQ Parfait and our Loaded Fries.”
The Parfait starts with a scoop of homemade mashed potatoes topped with “meaty beans” and brisket. That’s just the first layer. More potatoes, more meaty beans and more brisket are added, topped with pulled pork and drizzled with Mulholland’s special sauce.
The Loaded Fries start with a bed of fries topped with macaroni and cheese, brisket or pork, and barbecue sauce.
(Wipe your chin, they don’t open for months!)
“We also hope to serve barbecue breakfasts,” Mulholland said. “That will include eggs and a brisket hash.”
“A lot of people do barbecue — we do it a little differently,” he said. “We’ve developed our own recipes and our own sauce — even our own Coleslaw. I’ve studied barbecue from 34 states and other countries, and I’ve created my own style using a lot of history and culture.”
Like many successful barbecue joints, Mulholland has his “secret ingredient.”
“I use a dry-rub seasoning brought in from a small mom-and-pop shop in northern California,” he said. “That’s all I can tell you.”
For those who have been looking for Bill’s Smoke Wagon to get a barbecue fix, you can quit looking. It’s closed.
“I started the wagon in 2020, just in time for COVID,” he said. “ But I’m no longer running the trailer — I have too much to do here.”
Black Axe will continue to operate its trailer for parties and private events, Blackwell said. But, the indoor venue has been on the drawing board since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We planned to open in 2020, but COVID happened so we built the throwing trailer,” she said. “It worked out well — people wanted to be outside where they could space out.”
The six axe-throwing lanes inside the new building will be reinforced with metal panels and wood.
“We want it to have a modern industrial feel,” she said. “The lanes will be about 20 feet long.”
“We are a little different from your typical axe-throwing venue. We use computer-projected targets that we can change. We may have it set for Tic-Tac-Toe or Connect 4, or we may have images of zombies that customers can target. We want to produce a fun vibe.”
The Black Axe mobile axe-throwing trailer has been a popular stop at First Friday block parties. David Stone photo
THURSDAY | APRIL 21, 2022
GRILLING FOR A CAUSE
Evelyn Waiwaiole, Temple College’s vice president of Resource Development and External Relations, prepares to flip a burger during Wednesday’s Leopard Fest. The event was a fundraiser for TC athletics. David Stone photo
THURSDAY | APRIL 28, 2022
today’s best bets
Superhero Day at Corky's. Dress up in your favorite superhero gear for beer and wine discounts.
Red's Taproom Trivia at Fire Base Brewing. Free!
To include your events in What’s Happening and Today’s Best Bets, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
Who is Bob Poage and why is an office building in Downtown Temple named after him?
On this day in 1900 the Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention was organized at McMahan, 10 miles east of Lockhart. Sacred harp music is a religious folk music that derives its name from Benjamin Franklin White's The Sacred Harp (1844). It features a cappella singing of white spirituals written in shaped notes. The sacred harp is the human voice. Although all-day singings with dinner on the grounds are not as widespread as before World War II, they regularly occur in East Texas. The two oldest and largest annual events are the Southwest Texas Convention at McMahan, held in the spring, and the East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention in Henderson, organized in 1914 and held in August. Sacred harp singings traditionally were (in some places, still are) a part of a community's homecoming celebration, in which the church was of major importance.
TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: William Robert “Bob” Poage was a U.S. representative from Texas' 11th Congressional District — a post he held from Jan. 3, 1937, until his retirement on Dec. 31, 1978. He was known as “Mr. Agriculture,” and the Poage Federal Building — a centerpiece in Downtown Temple — houses several ag agencies. It was named in his honor.