After five years of bringing barbecue and music festivals to the inner-city, Grillstock has a permanent home for its much-loved brand of slow-cooked meats and Deep South cuisine. It was essential that the new smokehouse was a condensed version of the festival experience, representing the barbecue scene in a mix of Americana, music and contemporary industrial grunge. To Grillstock’s unique self-proclaimed blend of meat, music and mayhem, Grillstock turned to Simple Simon Design.

The greatest challenge in the project was to provide suitable dining covers and a large enough kitchen in what is a very compact site. To maximise seating and allow a wide enough route to the counter for take-away custom, a large 32-seater sharing table was built from a steel girder section. As well as solving operational issues, the big bench gives customers a chance to mingle and interact with each other, helping to capture the festival spirit.

Drawn into the intentionally moody interior by the neon window signage, the customer is immediately immersed in the spirit of Grillstock by the music and festival posters that line the walls. Rough sawn timber on the walls and table tops bring a flavour of an American backwater roadhouse to the space.

The main counter, gantry and other bespoke furniture pieces have been constructed from blackened steel and exposed weld mesh. Salvaged marine pendant lights hang over the sharing table and provide just enough light to eat by. The floor is made from rough OSB board, some of the walls are decorated with rust paint and the electrical service trays are left exposed at ceiling level, giving the space a gritty, industrial feel. There is more neon inside to communicate the tie-in with Brooklyn Brewery, and other sign-written notices on the wall provide decoration throughout that helps to complete the aesthetic.

Unashamedly meaty, the menu offers no concessions to vegetarians and is complemented by an offering of American craft beer. Early response to the new venue has been positive, with queues forming out the door at lunchtimes and evenings, and the team is already working on new venues for roll-out.

Grillstock’s Ben Merrington says: “We wanted to instil the spirit of barbecue in each element, through authentic low and slow cooking techniques and flavours, combining our food with the music that inspired it and the people you share it with. Quite simply, we wanted to condense the festival experience into our restaurant. The walls are even decked with festival memorabilia from the past, which makes us a bit different and underlines our authenticity. We live and breathe this stuff and I think that really comes across in the smokehouse.”