New New BBQ: Smokin’ Joe’s brings on the brisket in Menomonie

Lauren Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Alabama transplants April and Tony Nander moved their family to Menomonie in 2017, opening Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ & Grill (1705 Plaza Drive) last November. Neighbors encouraged the couple after a housewarming barbecue.
Alabama transplants April and Tony Nadler moved their family to Menomonie in 2017, opening Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ & Grill (1705 Plaza Drive) last November. Neighbors encouraged the couple after a housewarming barbecue.

April and Tony Nadler moved to Menomonie from Alabama in 2017 with their two children – and the first thing they did was throw a housewarming barbecue. Even after the food was eaten and the guests returned home, the neighborhood’s excitement about Tony’s home cooking wafted through the air like the smell of smoked meat. Before they knew it, the Nadlers had ridden their community’s enthusiasm all the way to opening their own restaurant, Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ & Grill, on Nov. 8.

“If those aren’t done right, we’ll get in trouble by our mommas.” – April Nadler, on Smokin’ Joe’s homemade sides

The Nadler made a tradition of visiting local bars every Sunday, often bringing their own barbecue snacks to enjoy and share. Their companions raved about the treats, encouraging Tony to set up shop. They gauged interest by hosting sample parties, and their guests donated to the cause. Soon, they had raised enough money to open a mobile food truck, which launched in May.

“We said we would never actually open a restaurant,” April said. Their plan for winter was to open a commercial kitchen and do catering and delivery services – but things didn’t go as expected. Eventually, they decided, “What if we just go to the next step, and just go big-time?” April said.

To start, they’re just trying to keep things simple, with a menu that features the usual fare: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and turkey, and burgers with classic sides such as baked beans, broccoli salad, slaw, and mac and cheese. They’ve got a selection of beer on tap to wash down all that smokey goodness, too.

Tony is originally from Wisconsin, and April grew up in Arkansas where she was raised on authentic barbecue. They met in Alabama, where Tony was introduced to southern smoking. He incorporated what he learned into his own deer sausage smoking routine. Now, he says, he’s addicted to the smell of smoke.

The sides are as homemade as possible, April said. Some of the recipes are favorite selections from their mothers’ cooking. “If those aren’t done right, we’ll get in trouble by our mommas,” April pointed out.

“It’s been really good. People have been great; everyone who comes in seems really pleased, and we’ve gotten a lot of good comments on our food and service,” April said – “And atmosphere,” Tony added. The establishment has a real homey feel. The Nadlers want their guests to be comfortable.

“This is our whole life,” April said. “This is what we grew up on, and I want other people to be able to experience it.”


Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ & Grill is located at 1705 Plaza Drive, Menomonie, and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am-9pm and Sundays from 11am-8pm. For more information, including notices of specials, find them on Facebook @menomonieBBQ.