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Ayesha Curry’s Hit Barbecue Restaurant Is Expanding [UPDATED]

She’s adding San Diego and Miami to her to-conquer list

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Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

In less than two years, Ayesha Curry has morphed from celebrity lifestyle icon to successful restaurateur. In November, she opened the buzzing SF barbecue spot International Smoke, where her globally inspired menu of wood-smoked meats — and her charisma — quickly found their audience.

Just a few weeks ago, news broke that she and her partners at fellow prolific empire-builder Michael Mina’s restaurant group plan to open in San Diego in early 2019. It’s one of many future openings on Curry’s plate.

Update March 14, 2018: Eater Miami reports that Curry and Mina are bringing International Smoke to Miami in summer 2018.

There’s a lot to catch up on, so here’s a helpful timeline of International Smoke:

American barbecue ribs at International Smoke in San Francisco.
Photo: Patricia Chang for Eater SF

Summer 2016: Curry partners with Michael Mina to launch a San Francisco pop-up. There’s Thai-style barbecue shrimp chili, “Around the World” pork ribs cooked either Korean, al pastor or St. Louis-style, and a “Royal BBQ Platter” with char siu, pastrami, and Merguez sausage. A brand is born.

May 2017: Curry and Mina reveal their continued partnership, which will install International Smoke in the former SF home of Mina’s restaurant RN74. Mina and Curry quietly open a stall of International Smoke a Michael Mina’s Honolulu food hall, the Street. (The first Yelper to visit loved it.)

Mina reveals he will also bring Curry’s International Smoke with him to LA when he opens the Street in the Beverly Center, sometime in 2018.

November 2017: In the first days of the November, Curry and Mina drop the bombshell news that they will bring International Smoke to cattle country, also known as Texas. The announcement puts the Houston opening in early 2018.

The first full-service version of International Smoke debuts in San Francisco a couple weeks later. It’s an instant hit with fans.

January 2018: Reviews are in for San Francisco’s International Smoke. The San Francisco Chronicle awards a whopping three stars, calling the ribs “some of the best” in the Bay Area; Eater SF doles out a chillier single star.

At the end of the month, Mina and Curry reveal plans for the San Diego opening, the third full-service location of International Smoke, expected to land in 2019.

March 2018: Mid-month, Mina and Curry announce their plans to bing the brand to Miami, aiming for a summer 2018 debut.

And so we find ourselves here.

Locations of International Smoke Open Now: Honolulu, San Francisco

Locations of International Smoke In the Works: Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami... and maybe, a city near you.

Pretty fast, right??!

This story originally ran on February 6, 2018 and was updated on March 14, 2018 to reflect the news about Miami.

Bay Area Barbecue Hotspot Headed for North County [ESD]
Ayesha Curry’s Buzzy Barbecue Restaurant is Opening in Miami [EM]