Food, Gales Creek, News

Smokehouse Chicken & Guns opens in Gales Creek

Smokehouse Chicken & Guns is open for business.

Gales Creek’s hottest new restaurant (now the third eatery in the Gales Creek and Glenwood area) opened their doors Saturday, March 25.

The opening was briefly interrupted—a technical glitch in the new restaurant’s system’s kept them from opening the next day—but they reopened the following weekend for their first full weekend serving customers in Gales Creek.

“It’s going really, really well,” said owner and restaurateur Dustin Knox in between keeping an eye on the opening of his first brick-and-mortar location on Friday, March 31.

Knox said he’d seen a lot of happiness on people’s faces when they walked through the door.

And a lot of people were walking through the door.

When this journalist visited, parking was no longer available, and Highway 6 was lined with the vehicles of fellow hungry visitors.

Cars line Highway 6 at Smokehouse Chicken & Guns on March 31. Photo: Chas Hundley
Smokehouse Chicken & Guns on March 31. Photo: Chas Hundley

It was just the second day the spot had been open.

Inside, a guest will immediately see the main counter—the Smokehouse is a partial counter service restaurant; pick up a menu, order at the counter, grab a number and a server will bring your food and drink to your table—as you walk in. Gone is the old 9N Ford tractor from the old days. In fact, the interior is gleaming with new furnishings, fixtures, art, and photos designed to feel old.

The front counter at Smokehouse Chicken & Guns on March 31. Photo: Chas Hundley

To the left, walking through several tables, is a bar—the bartender was undergoing training on Friday while mixing drinks—that has always been there, but takes on new life with a massive Smokehouse Chicken & Guns logo emblazoned on the glass cooler doors.

Also there, tucked in a corner, is an intimate spot called the Whiskey Room, a single custom wood table carved and varnished from a gnarled slab, with soft bench-style seating that can eventually be reserved for larger groups of more than a dozen.

The guns are not, in fact, firearms, but Knox’s term for potatoes. They were crispy, served with pickled onions and a Peruvian-style green ranch sauce delicately flavored with cilantro. A plate of six chicken wings—large enough to take some home—were described by one eater as having a delicious crispy skin.

Smokehouse Chicken & Guns on March 31. Photo: Chas Hundley

The building on the Wilson River Highway just west of the junction of Highways 6 and 8 has long served Gales Creek residents and visitors looking for a spot to eat. In recent memory, it was Coleman’s 9N Shady Rest, which closed in 2020, an early casualty of the pandemic’s effect on restaurants.

Before that, it was known as Bonanza.

Knox bought the spot, which also has a home on the property, in 2021.

Before that, he’d run a lauded food cart in Portland under the name Chicken & Guns, serving Latin-inspired chicken and potatoes.

He’d originally planned a grand opening in late spring of 2022, but the care taken in bringing his vision to life took a little longer, and the effort is evident in the cohesive décor, menu, and culture already on display inside the Smokehouse.

Smokehouse Chicken & Guns can be found online at
The restaurant is currently open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at 55660 NW Wilson River Hwy.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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