After taking a decade-long detour, life partners Diana Sherwood and Adam Hildebrand opened Smokehouse 41 BBQ on Nov. 14 because food and smoking meat, quite simply, is their passion.
Before taking the leap to open their restaurant, both worked at Ducey’s on the Lake, Hildebrand as a chef and Sherwood as manager for 12 years. They decided to step out of the restaurant industry for 10 years, venturing in other directions - he as a contractor and she as a Lifestyle Enrichment Director in Fresno, before returning to the food industry.
“We missed it,” Sherwood said, “and we wanted to become more involved in the community by creating jobs and offering the first fast casual BBQ restaurant to ever come to Oakhurst.”
The couple hope to not only offer hungry customers a variety of smoked meats, but an experience.
“We bring everything to the front, there’s no hiding behind the walls in the kitchen,” Sherwood added. “That way our patrons can see us in action. They can see the meat being smoked and the meat carver actually cutting the meat in front of them.
“We’re so blessed that the community has embraced us. So far, our customers are loving it.”
“Owning and operating my own restaurant is one of the things I always dreamed of doing when I was younger,” Hildebrand added, “but I thought it was something I could never do. Now that I'm older and more mature, I believe it’s something I can definitely do ... so we just went for it.”
Sherwood is a fourth generation Mountain Area resident and Hildebrand, a Yosemite High graduate, has lived in the area 22 years.
Smokehouse 41 offers pulled pork and tri tip. Specialties include the Pit Master (brisket, pulled pork and sausage with homemade cole slaw) and The Mammoth (beef and pork ribs). They also offer something for vegetarians - the 41 Baker, a jumbo smoked sweet potato topped with cheese, chives and aioli.
Located at 40713 Highway 41 in Oakhurst, the hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., closed Mondays, (559) 642-2271.