GRANDVIEW, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s been a one-two punch for restaurants after COVID-19 closedowns and staff shortages, but Smokehouse Brewing Company is back with a fire in its belly, and a new challenge for customers.

“We got through the pandemic and then in 2022, we hit a labor shortage,” said Lenny Kolada, Smokehouse founder. “It got severe enough that we had to close at the beginning of August, which is the month of our 25th anniversary.”

Inside a menu of traditional barbeque, mac-n-cheese, corn pudding and other pub fare, Smokehouse will turn up the heat with a “devil’s ladder” wing challenge. Sauces start with Gates of Hell, progress to Devil’s Tongue, fiery Lucifer, Too Late to Forgive, and end with Satan’s Ahole.

The devilish dishes are designed to torment your tongue. The mildest wing sauce uses Scotch Bonnet peppers; others include the Carolina Reaper (2.2 million Scoville units), one of the hottest peppers in existence. Chefs also use a hot sauce oil rated at one million Scoville units, according to Kolada.

That will get you reaching for a house-brewed beer — or three.

But if you can chomp your way through the hellishly hot wing sauces without reaching for a drink or a napkin, you’ll win a shirt with a devil’s ladder logo that lets people know: “I survived the devil’s ladder wing challenge.”

Last year, the restaurant introduced a stuffed jalapeño pepper roulette, and its success spawned the devil’s ladder challenge.

“For our roulette, one of them has a Carolina Reaper in it. So when the table orders, one person is in for a surprise,” Kolada said.

If customers go ahead after a warning, the person who loses the roulette and crunches into a Carolina Reaper may have bitten off more than they can swallow. Kolada said it’s had a couple people running for the restroom.

Smokehouse Brewing Company offers craft beers, a full range of barbeque and pub options, as well as the spicier side of its menu. There’s a soft opening with a shorter dinner menu on Oct. 12 from 4 p.m. onward, with a full relaunch on Oct. 19 featuring a full lunch and dinner menu.