Shropshire’s First Smoke house and we were excited! We’re big fan’s of BBQ food and this was a real treat for us… ribs, wings, cheese, sausage, jalepeños, dip, bacon & there was so much more we had to come!
Having only been open for a matter of days, we decided to give Smoke Stop a findmyfood visit, sample the cuisine on offer and take a few snaps to ultimately add to their newly listed profile page.
Being part of a team which has just opened a new and exciting Smoke House is a great feeling and gives you a real buzz – It’s a shame some of the staff didn’t feel the way we did when we were dining at Smoke Stop. Throughout the night, we were probably seen by 4-5 different people and 3 of them failed to raise a smile! It’s all about the people with customer service and it’s a cliché but a smile really does go a long way… even when we cracked a few jokes and attempted to have a bit of a laugh when one of the staff attended our table it was painful.
If you refer to the menu we have taken a photo of, one of the starters was called ‘Smoked Links’ and the main course was called ‘Smokin’ Joe King’s Special’. In all honestly, the starter was an extremely small portion. The smoked sausage was cut up into 4-5 small pieces and served next to a sliced gherkin (American pickle) and a little pot of BBQ dip – Costing £5, this was too expensive and wasn’t presented that well either. (See photos)
The main course was delivered with more of a personal touch. It came individually on a patterned white tray, presentation was good and the portion size was spot on. You can be overwhelmed with food sometimes, especially when you visit an American diner and they literally just bombard you with food – They also seem to forget that people in the U.K haven’t got an appetite like some people have in the US! But, thankfully, this was top draw.
The burger which consisted of two beef patties, American cheese, smoked bacon, jalapeños, pickles and onion rings was good – Again, when visiting other American burger joints they can be riddled and dripping with grease but this was well maintained – The consistency of the burger was good and everything came together nicely. The cheese wasn’t too rich, the onions were crispy and the bun wasn’t too doughy – This can sometimes ‘make or break’ the burger.
One of the people from our party was a vegetarian – The menu had limited availability for someone who wasn’t a meat-eater and they weren’t really ‘spoilt for choice’. One was a veggie burger and the other was a salad – The veggie burger included halloumi which was overpowered by the salsa and it was quite bland. halloumi isn’t a strong cheese but when we have grilled it the salty and mild flavour comes to life – This is what we would have like to taste. We didn’t really want to opt for the salad because on numerous occasions we have selected this option (from dining out at other restaurants) and it hasn’t been filling enough – So this is something we can’t comment on.
The milkshakes were very inviting by the way they were described on the menu and much like a traditional American diner, we expected them to have something about them which would really make them stand out from the crowd… but they didn’t. They came in a regular milkshake glass with cream on top and a straw.. Maybe we were hoping for too much but we really were hoping for something with a touch of class.
Later on in the night we ordered a few alcoholic drinks, one of which was a Mojito. We were told the price of the cocktail was £4 and subsequently if we ordered anymore up until the end of the night they would be the same price. The Mojito was in a tall, slender glass and it included all the usual refinements – Well made and it wasn’t too strong – This can sometimes be too overpowering if you include too much white rum and get the other measurements wrong with the sugar etc.
This was all very well and good until we got the bill at the end of the night as they had decided to charge us $6 for the Mojito. When we told one of the staff member she seemed a bit embarrassed and to fair to them, they immediately asked the management team and they reduced it down to the quoted price. It was a simple mistake to make in the first place but it’s one which we think could have been avoided.
Service was good at times but when it mattered the most it was a little slack. We appreciate that it was a new beginning for everyone and there was a lot to take in (drinks, food, specials etc) but the levels of customer service of the staff and the professionalism was a little ‘off’. For us, it was back to basics – Initially we came to dine as a party of only 2 – Some other friends of ours decided to join us and they arrived at around 9 – We were then reseated and that was all good. Subsequently, we were eating at different times. When we ha finished, the other half of our party were still eating – Now we feel most people should know that it’s bad table manners to take plates / food away when others are still eating – And this is exactly what happened. It’s not a major issue but it all helps.
As a party of 4, we all agreed – There wasn’t one. Although it was busy, there was no music (until the end of the night around 10pm when some sort of dance / beat music was blasted from the speakers) and this is key. As an American-style diner, it should be fun, happy, jokes, people laughing, 50’s/60’s music… we even thought the staff on roller skates would be a brill idea.. why not?! Train them up and let them go – This would really set Smoke Stop aside from EVERY other venue in Shrewsbury!