Restaurant of the Week: Sugarfire Smoke House

Sugarfire Smoke House, an award-winning casual, chef-driven restaurant, is located on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids. Sugar Fire features barbecue favorites, including its top-selling brisket, plus a variety of other tasty dishes including pies and boozy ice cream shakes.

Opened in Cedar Rapids in June of 2020, Sugarfire caters to people on the go with its casual dine-in option, to-go orders or a drive-thru (the only one out of all 17 locations in the United State). The first Sugarfire opened in 2001 in St. Louis by a husband-and-wife team. She had a pastry background; he wanted to dabble in the barbecue, hence the creation of the name.

Sugarfire is perfect for a grab-and-go lunch during a busy work day, a crowd-pleasing dinner stop for a family or a casual evening with friends. Sugarfire is also available for catering, including weddings and office lunches. The restaurant is inviting, filled with retro décor and vintage signage, and makes you feel like you are sitting down for a family dinner. The barbecue aroma we all love hits you as soon as you get out of your car and instantly makes you hungry. Order at the counter and find a seat in their large dining room or enjoy the weather outside on their patio.

If you are looking to sample all of the meats that Sugarfire has to offer, the Meat Daddy is the option for you. This dish includes four ounces of each meat, including ribs, jalapeno-cheddar sausage, brisket, pulled pork and turkey. The plate comes with seven house-made sauces, two house-made sides (like mac and cheese, potato salad and baked beans) and a fountain drink. All meat is very tender and falls right off your fork. Each is made with a house-made dry rub and smoked 14 to 16 hours.

If that doesn’t make your mouth water, the Big Muddy certainly will. This is the most popular sandwich on Sugarfire’s menu and is piled high with brisket and jalapeno-cheddar sausage, horseradish sauce, sweet barbecue sauce, lettuce and pickles. The tender meats and sauces make delightful combinations. This sandwich is the definition of “finger licking good.”

The chef salad is quite hearty and doesn’t have a shortage of meat included. The brisket, turkey, tomato, onion, cucumber and hard-boiled egg will leave you very satisfied. Another fan favorite is the pork belly hush puppies, which could be a meal in and of itself. These hush puppies are fried to golden perfection, but light and fluffy on the inside. The pork belly adds that smoky flavor and with the jalapeno jelly for dipping; this starter is hard to beat.

To finish off your meal, make sure to try a regular or boozy shake, float or a slice of pie. The freshly made pies include pecan, key lime, apple, Mississippi mud, Sugarfire and seasonal, and are sure to please your sweet tooth. The shakes and floats are another option, for both kids and adults alike, in flavors like chocolate, vanilla or strawberry and floats include root beer, cream soda, purple cow and orange. If you need a little something extra in your shake, make it boozy. These flavors include chocolate peanut butter bourbon, white Russian and vanilla caramel bourbon. Each shake is very creamy and very flavorful, with ice cream from Dan & Debbie’s Creamery in Ely. If you order a float, you will get a whole bottle of soda to make it yourself!

Sugarfire sees the value and partnership in sourcing locally as many products as they can. They also want to accommodate to as many people as possible, offering various options for any non-meat eaters, including smoked salmon, a portabella sandwich and smoked fried artichokes. Their brisket is still its No. 1 seller and between Friday and Saturday, they typically smoke around 500 pounds of meat.

For more information about Sugarfire Smoke House, visit

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.