Something smells fishy here, and I don't mean the fried smelt on the fish and ribs platter.
I recently reviewed a fairly new Southern style barbecue joint on West Colonial Drive called Southern Smoke Fish & Ribs. It was an OK review -- you can read it here: http://goo.gl/RQdGO2 -- not the most glowing but it had some nice points. I even included a link to the review in my recent e-letter.
Then I heard from a reader that the restaurant had closed. When I called the listed number, a staff person answered. I asked if I had reached Southern Smoke Fish & Ribs and he allowed that I had. I identified myself and said I was calling because someone had told me the restaurant was closed.
"That's right," he said. We are currently closed while we work on the menu to make it better, he told me. I said that it seemed an odd decision to close a restaurant just to make some menu changes, especially a restaurant that had been open for just a few months. He hesitated and tried to get someone else -- I assume an owner -- to offer more elaboration, but he came back with that standard line.
Sorry, I'm just not buying that. My guess is that something else is going on here. It's very possible that they've been challenged on the use of the name -- there's another restaurant within Florida operating under that name. It could be something else, such as the owner is independently wealthy and doesn't mind stopping all incoming revenue while tweaking the menu.
If it is the name, perhaps they can make a subtle change. I suggest Southern Smoke and Mirrors.