Named for Jamaica's Blue Mountains, this complex includes a members-only Passport Club (where visitors can buy $5 passes to join for the evening and stop in for drinks) and the Smokehouse Grille, both located inside a restored barn. A 2011 fire closed the facility until it could be rebuilt from the inside and reopened in March 2012.
You can smell the smoked meat as soon as you get out of the car. Brisket, sausage and chicken hang from Little Andy, the upright smoker inside the restaurant. We started upstairs in the Passport Club, where we tried expertly mixed drinks (including a Grilled Pineapple Mojito and a Midori Melon Margarita, $6.75 each) and appetizers, inclding smoked jalapenos and Gator Remoulade ($5.95 each, and yes, the alligator tasted like chicken, bathed in a mustard/mayo sauce). We headed downstairs to the Smokehouse Grille for dinner, where the melt-in-your-mouth brisket and tasty sausage star in the BBQ combo ($19.95). The Smokehouse Grille also features wood-fired oven fare like Smokehouse Chicken Pizza ($11.75) and pecan-crusted walleye ($16.95).
Overall, Blue Mountain Emportium feels like an authentic northern plains version of a Cracker Barrel, with regional landscape artwork as well as vintage business signage. In the Out of Africa-inspired Passport Club, patrons can marvel at artifacts such as a stunning terra-cotta elephant and a trilobite fossil. After enjoying dinner on the first-floor smokehouse, return to the Passport Club's barn loft for the rich and perfect for sharing farm-fresh Blackberry Gooey Buttercake ($6.50).