Jesse Sandlin joins Smokehouse in Canton

Changes continue at the former JD's Smokehouse on O'Donnell Square, which has been operating since November as Smokehouse BBQ Restaurant & Bar.

In about a month or so, the Canton restaurant will be re-branded again, with a new culinary concept and a newly hired executive chef, "Top Chef" alumna Jesse Sandlin. The restaurant will be renamed Jokers & Thieves and will have its official debut as soon as March 1.

Sandlin said the culinary focus at Jokers & Thieves will be less on barbecue -- as it was at her last restaurant, Oliver Speck's Eats & Drinks -- than on Southern comfort food like fried chicken and biscuits with ham. The menu, Sandlin said, is in development.

New owners, the same operating group behind Bookmakers in Federal Hill, took over JD's last fall. Construction work at the restaurant is ongoing, said Sandlin, who started at Smokehouse last Monday. For the time being, the restaurant's schedule is in flux and its menu offerings are limited.

"People should definitely call before they come over," Sandlin said.

The restaurant's name is inspired by a lyric from the Bob Dylan song "All Along the Watchtower" in which he says, "There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief."










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