Located in the bustling Varina area of Fuquay, AviatorSmokehouse continues to build a following as a casual place to enjoy barbecue, ribs, burgers, beer and more. On a recent Friday night, there was a surprising 45-minute wait to get a seat. That’s a good thing for a locally owned dinning establishment.
Smoked meats like chopped pork barbeque, St. Louis style
ribs and beef brisket are generally reliable options. Side items baked beans
and collard greens are solid as well. The house-made mac and cheese is
first-rate (my extremely picky 9-year-old daughter gave it a big thumbs up).
Much to my surprise, the fish tacos were the best I’ve had
anywhere, and I’m a huge fish taco fan. Large, lightly battered pieces of tilapia
and slices of avocado make these tacos a winning entrée choice. The
beer-battered onion rings, however, were flavorful but too greasy for my taste.
The restaurant’s décor tends toward sports bar meets airport
hangar. Service is friendly, but the staff can tend to get overwhelmed when the
dining room is crowded.
Aviator Smokehouse seems fully capable of churning out
quality provisions for a reasonable price. Even so, it needs more reliable soul.
Perhaps a front-of-the-house manager visiting tables and flashing a friendly
smile would help. Each time I’ve visited there never seems to be a manager
onsite. Here’s hoping the owner will pour as much passion into the eatery as he
does the tap house across the street.