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Route 66 News

Old Smoky’s Restaurant building in Williams torn down

Old Smoky's Restaurant, Williams, AZ

The Old Smoky’s Restaurant building that stood for more than 70 years on Route 66 in Williams, Arizona, was torn down earlier this month.

The restaurant itself, however, continues to operate down the street at 125 W. Route 66.

The Williams News on Tuesday posted a photo of the building being torn down, although the real work was done July 18. According to the newspaper, the building had become run-down, and the restaurant’s operators moved.

The News said the restaurant was known for decades for its breakfasts and its mountain-man mascot. The restaurant was across the street from a Dairy Queen that is historic in its own right.

An archived Google Street View photo from 2011 shows the building, which spelled the restaurant’s name as Old Smoky’s . However, the current restaurant spells its name Old Smokey’s.

According to a 2015 article about the restaurant reopening at its current site in Williams, Old Smokey’s operator Dan Barnes took a hiatus for several years after complaining about the condition of the building.

“Well, when we closed down there as you’re well aware we closed because the building kept getting flooded and there were so many problems with the building that it was just insurmountable what we were going through,” Barnes said.

The new Old Smokey’s site is in the former site of the Grand Canyon Cafe, which moved as well.

According to Arizona Edventures, the original Old Smoky’s opened in 1946.

Destination Eats went to Old Smoky’s Restaurant in 2009 and had this to report:

Old Smokey’s, like Rod’s, features a long history coinciding with Route 66. In its previous life, it had been a diner, barbecue, and now a pancake house. Given its claim to fame, I had to order the pancakes. An unlimited stack of buttermilk pancakes for $5.99 was the way to go. But when I got my order, I was shocked that the buttermilk pancake plate was just one gigantic pancake. With griddle cakes this wide, it’s hard to cook evenly, but they did a great job. Consistent throughout, and topped with one of the flavored syrups added to my delight. Strawberry, boysenberry, and pecan syrups all added something different to my pancake Frisbee.

(Excepted image of Old Smoky’s Restaurant in 2011 via Google Street View)

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8 thoughts on “Old Smoky’s Restaurant building in Williams torn down

  1. Eric Hayman

    A pity to see such an individual building destroyed. What wil be built on the site – and how much is the site worth? How about a photo of the “new” Old Smokey’s, for comparison?

  2. Eric Hayman

    I have found one photo of the interior with Dan and Clara Barnes. But nothing of the exterior.

  3. Pingback: Williams AZ: „Old Smoky’s“ abgebrochen | ROUTE 66 – 66 days on and off Route 66

  4. Eric Hayman

    Many thanks, Ron. Alas, nothing like the old building. There was a Victorian theatre in London that was demolished. But the interior was saved and installed in a modern concrete block of a building. Once inside the auditorium one is taken back a hundred years. But, when the plays end, one walks out into the modern foyer and the dream dies. Such is nostalgia.

  5. Phyllis Grey

    I remember hearing that Elvis Presley and his entourage had dined at Smokey’s Pancake House and caused quite a buzz in Williams!

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      Wow. That’s quite a story, if true. It seems fairly likely, though. Elvis and his crew made a lot of trips along the Route 66 corridor between Memphis and Vegas or Hollywood during the 1960s and early ’70s.

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