Popular sausage restaurant to open in Rockville

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HalfSmoke, originally located in Washington D.C., offers varying dishes with the local delicacy “half-smoke” sausage.

Montgomery County is becoming a popular destination for hot dogs and sausage restaurants. Two exciting places close to the school are making their marks.

Popular Washington, D.C sausage restaurant, HalfSmoke, is planning on opening a new restaurant in Rockville Town Square. The restaurant is also opening a new location in Baltimore.
In the Kentlands, another gourmet sausage restaurant recently opened named the Dog Haus. The Dog Haus had lines snaked across the street during their grand opening. The Los Angeles-based eatery offers different combinations such as hot dogs with avocado, crispy onions and even pineapple. The hot dogs are served on King’s Hawaiian rolls.

I am really excited that HalfSmoke is coming to Rockville. I’ve been to the D.C. location a couple of times and really like the food and service.”

— Devlin McCarthy

Established in 2016, HalfSmoke combines the elements of a gastro-pub, café and a quick service restaurant. The menu features innovative items like hand-spun butter pecan milkshakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch French toast with bourbon maple syrup and a custom sausage bar with over 30 toppings. Sophomore Devlin McCarthy said, “I am really excited that HalfSmoke is coming to Rockville. I’ve been to the D.C. location a couple of times and really like the food and service.”

According to the Washington Business Journal, “The 50-employee Rockville location will be 6,000 square feet with 150 seats inside under normal capacity and seating for 30 outside.”

Due to the pandemic, restaurants have been closing or relocating to lower-rent shopping centers. Both restaurants have done the opposite, by taking advantage of outdoor dining and carryout. HalfSmoke for example, has an extensive outdoor seating layout for all of its locations (it’s Baltimore location is seating the most outside with a capacity of over 40 customers).

HalfSmoke is also known for its unique ambiance. For example, customers can be seen playing giant Jenga, or Scrabble games or lounging on one of the store’s multiple couches. The restaurant has neon signs with sayings like, “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap.”

Before HalfSmoke, restaurant owner Andre Mccain had no experience in the restaurant industry. He was a life-long entrepreneur, starting his own freelance photography company in 2000, reselling shoes and other apparel online. Mccain’s vision for HalfSmoke was, “If you look at what Starbucks did with coffee, there are a lot of similarities with what I’m trying to do with sausages.” he said. “Coffee, before Starbucks, was considered a low-quality, low-cost item that wasn’t very customizable. There was no romance associated with it,” according to a Washington Post article.

The new location may open as early as November. Sophomore Spencer Becker said, “HalfSmoke looks really cool, I can definitely see myself going with my friends on an afternoon to hang out. I really like desserts. I love milkshakes, and they have a lot of cool flavors that I want to try.”

Both restaurants offer the customer fun and affordable dining adventures. Dog Haus offers a multitude of sausages that are fun, which is similar to HalfSmoke. They are about a 15-minute car ride away from each other and it will be interesting to see how the competition affects both hot dog restaurants.