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Monday, April 15, 2024

A New Horizon for Walton’s

The former Walton Motor Co. building at 956 Parrett St. is once again accepting patrons to its sprawling, industrial-style dining space and patio. Owner Tim Mills opened casual barbecue restaurant Walton’s Smokehouse and Southern Kitchen on Oct. 21 after rebranding from Walton’s International Comfort Food which closed in July 2021.

Mills, who also owns Read St. BBQ at 421 Read St., operates Walton’s on the main floor. Fidel’s Bourbon & Cigar Bar remains on the second level.

Upon entering, Walton’s aesthetic changes are subtle but make a difference in the underlying ambiance of the dining room. New bourbon barrels adorn the walls alongside local high school sports jerseys. TVs have been added across the space for a sports bar element.

The biggest difference in the new Walton’s can be found behind the bar, counters, and kitchen doors.

When Walton’s International Comfort Food closed, Mills gave the staff the option to stay on board for the new restaurant. The majority opted to leave, prompting the owners to hire new management, servers, cooks, and bartenders, including manager Chad Schenk, whose favorite dish is a smokehouse underdog.

“It’s not something you think of when you walk into a smokehouse: the turkey sandwich,” he says. “I always think of the dry turkeys I’ve had on Thanksgiving, but we have a very good turkey sandwich. It’s just so juicy and full of flavor.”

Schenk, like the majority of the new staff, had a hand in curating menus that focus on fresh, homemade dishes. The smokehouse menu is based on barbecue, smoked meats, pizza, smokehouse sandwiches, and Southern comfort sides such as fried okra, turnip greens, and corn bread stuffing.

The $16 BBQ nachos encompass most of the menu’s cuisine and goals with tender pulled pork, a hefty dollop of sour cream, and freshly cut lettuce, tomato, and jalapenos. A manifestation of Walton’s slogan — “sauce on the side because our meat has nothin’ to hide” — the nachos come “dry” with your choice of five house-made sauces.

The Alabama white is a sour cream-based sauce with the slightest hint of spice that’s just enough to make you want another taste. A sweet blend, the Carolina mustard is the best of both mustard and barbecue sauce with a swift bite on the back end. The Mississippi is a classic, tangy barbecue sauce, while the Georgia peach is nothing but sweet and smooth. Finally, the Tennessee gives hot food lovers a run for their money with spice you can see, smell, and taste.

Featuring a wall of Ole Smokey Moonshine, the bar helps diners pair their Southern palettes with original craft cocktails. The Road Work is a stealthy drink of with Ole Smokey Watermelon Moonshine, strawberry puree, sweet and sour, and lemon-lime soda for $7.

Alongside eight cocktails, guests can experience the $5 moonshine slushies ready to order at the cafeteria-style dining section. The cafeteria area is an assembly line ordering style with self-seating and self-serve drinks and sauces that speed up the process for lunchtime diners.

Whether you’re a regular of the old brand or a new patron, you can try Walton’s Smokehouse and Southern Kitchen from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.


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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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