Gourmet burger deli Smokey Joe’s opens in Ipswich

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis checks out Ipswich’s newest burger joint

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich

How could I resist the opportunity to visit an establishment whose offering combines two of my favourite things – burgers and deli?

Exactly. I couldn’t.

This week, leading my drooling husband and friends Nic and Phil behind me, I stopped by to meet Chef Hatter, as he likes to be known.

Chef Hatter had just a few days before opened the area’s first ever burger deli – Smokey Joe’s. And according to reports, the queue to try out this latest foodie spot has been out the door, round the corner and up the road.

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich
sharey leeks,Netty herring, rob grogan, chef hatter and Scott Chri

Smokey joes burger deli Ipswich sharey leeks,Netty herring, rob grogan, chef hatter and Scott Christopher

Such has been the popularity of the eatery, the chef is already in talks to knock through into the adjoining Londis at Coytes gardens, massively increasing the space and possibilities for the fledgling business.

Food is clearly very close to Chef Hatter’s heart and he bursts with energy while talking about his latest business venture and all the mechanics of the behind the scenes magic that goes on in the kitchen.

Most Read

Despite having always wanted to be a chef, he first trained as an electrician to put money in his pocket, then worked at destination fish restaurant Riddles and Fins in Brighton before being snapped up by Dermot O’ Leary to head the kitchen of his restaurant Fishy Fishy.

Afterwards, Chef Hatter, alongside six other chefs, set up a chain of eateries in the Brighton area.

Never one to rest on his laurels, the chef spent time travelling in India and working in America to broaden his experience and help him shape what Smokey Joe’s is today – a good, down-home, honest burger joint without gimmicks.

A cross between a diner and a café, the restaurant and takeaway has an edgy design thanks to the largely hand-drawn graffiti artwork of Scott King at Aroma Designs.

“Seeing him doing his work and watching the attention to detail he had was a pleasure,” Chef said.

For him, Smokey Joe’s is all about food with a fun and funky influence. He wants diners to be able to pop in for a no-frills, really good homemade burger and craft beer. To kick back. To relax. “Having a burger deli means we’ve got the chance to be rustic. We make our own ketchup, mayos and hams. And we can get flavour into things. We buy the butt and leg of the pig from our butcher and slice our own bacon in-house.”

All meats are marinated on the premises for five days for the optimum taste sensation. And burgers are made with a juicy blend of 20% pork, 80% beef mince, all from Clarke butchers, as is every piece of meat used in the kitchen.

For Chef Hatter, freshness and flavour are at the heart of everything he does. Everything is made from scratch, nothing is microwaved, and the burgers are made the American way – pressed with an iron on the hot plate, then steamed.

To drink? Expect unusual beers such as Lagunitas and American IPAs, as well as a growing selection from Adnams, who have been really impressed by Chef Hatter’s outfit.

To say we pigged out at Smokey Joe’s is a bit of an understatement. When our waitress, who was super nice, took our order she asked if we wanted our sides to come first because, quite frankly, I think she realised they wouldn’t fit on the table with the rest of our food!

So to begin there were beer rings. We all agreed, some of the crunchiest onion rings we’ve ever had. Not a spot of grease on them. And not those yucky type made with chopped up onion held in a soggy batter. They left a lingering taste of yeasty beer in the mouth which was nice.

Then there was Joe’s slaw. Creamy but not overly mayonnaisy. Nicely chopped and fresh.

The meat eaters amongst us ripped through Joe’s ribs which were slow cooked and finished in a sticky, not too sweet homemade barbecue sauce. And Aunt May’s sweetcorn was done just right. Charred, sweet and sprinkled with a gently spicy house seasoning.

Now for the main event.

My hubby and I are somewhat of connoisseurs when it comes to burgers and we both agreed that the ones at Smokey Joe’s were a clear match for our favourites (from Meat Market, Covent Garden).

These are big, bold burgers that ooze with fillings and drip down your arms. Completely the real deal.

Phil chose the Mustang Sally, named after Chef Hatter’s partner and packed with all the things she loves – burger, double bacon, egg, Jack cheese, Joe’s slaw, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. It was so big he had to cut it in half. And it was still too big, so he cut it in half again. He loved it.

Nic, being a veggie, went for the Guachalloumi burger. A vegetable patty, grilled halloumi, homemade guacamole, roasted peppers, sour cream, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. Not a peep from her as she devoured it.

My hubby went for Smally’s Biltong’s Rusty Cowboy. This was a real beast consisting of a thick beef patty, thick cuts of Smally’s Biltong (made in Suffolk), smothered in Joe’s homemade biltongaise, Swiss cheese, jalapenos, sweet onions, tomatoes and lettuce. He’s still smiling about it.

I was a real pig and had the Boston Porker.

Oh yes. This was a proper burger. Juicy and meaty with a sweet homemade bacon ketchup, pulled pork (made the proper way by slow cooking for ages with yummy things), Swiss cheese, sweet, melting onions and a few types of lettuce. It was really really good. Even my chin enjoyed it!

All the burgers came with thin seasoned fries, which were excellent too.

As well as burger sauce, the main thing on our lips at the end of the night was the question “When are we coming back again?”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter