Launceston and North and East, Tasmania

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Forget Tex-Mex and other imitations, Smokey Joe's Creole Cafe is the real stuff, and one of the best cheap and cheerfuls in Launceston. Like nothing else you'll find in Tasmania, Smokey Joe's effortlessly captures the flavours of the south, serving everything from Cuban pulled pork, to chimichangas and beef brisket with a great selection of American-style sides and beers. This is definitely one place to bring your appetite to.

General info


20 Lawrence Street
Launceston TAS 7250





American, Latin American

Price Range:

$$$$ ~ $$$$


Licensed & BYO (wine only)

More info


This is one of the best cheap and cheerfuls in Tasmania. Well, it's cheapish, the staff and Joe himself are very cheerful and it's really very good. Like nothing else in the state, in fact. Joe grew up in the hill country of Missouri, USA, home to outlaw Jesse James, catfish, crawdads (yabbies), gumbo and French/Negro-influenced Creole food – what's known over there as "Ozarks" or "Delta Creole". Joe kitchen-grubbed in restaurants through high school, spent years with the US navy around the Caribbean, went to university on a GI Bill and taught English for a while before landing in Australia and opening Smokey Joe's in late 2002.

You can almost track his gypsy life in his menu – Ozark BBQ beef, Choka (a traditional smoked tomato and flat bread Trinidad breakfast dish), Jamaican goat curry, muffelleta Creole sausage, Cajun chicken salad, a number of Yucutan dishes and, of course, smoked spare ribs, dry-rubbed with spices or hit with his own Ozark Mountain BBQ sauce. He makes everything from scratch, smokes tomatoes, ribs and chillies in a wood smoker at the back of his kitchen, grinds and fills his own muffelleta, grows and dries exocet Habanera chillies and flies powdered sassafrass leaves (filee) in from the Missouri mountains. As he says, you can't make a real gumbo without filee – preferably picked under a new moon. And that's probably why he is the preferred caterer for international music acts when they tour Tasmania.
Graeme Phillips

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Gay - 20/12/2012
Was looking forward to a nice dinner with my husband but had to leave early. We sent back a meal asking for the baked potato my husband ordered instead of the rice he received. This prompted loud use of the "f" word from the open kitchen and yelling at the waiting staff. At this point a family got up from their half eaten meal, paid and left disgusted, with their small children. We followed not long after when we could no longer sit in the uncomfortable atmosphere. The owner made no apologies only used the word "whatever" several times like a spoilt child. I told him he should treat his staff better and that no one needed to be witness to that behaviour. To this I think he replied that "things happen and I wouldn't understand". We will obviously will never be returning after the most disappointing dining experience I have ever had and would not recommend this place to anyone.
Tom - 21/04/2012
I had been looking forward to Smokey Joes restaurant for quite a while and finally got the chance to dine there this evening. The entree we had was quite nice although the service was well below what would be expected as standard. The main course took 1 1/2 hours to arrive and was extremely dissapointing when it did, considering the fact that creole ribs are meant to be one of the restaurants specialities. Overall my partner and I were extremely dissapointed with the evening and will not be dining there again.