From a festival to a market stall to a permanent restaurant now open on the Clifton Triangle, Grillstock is proving quite the success story.
Meat is most definitely the order of the day. Grillstock has food eating competitions at its festivals, and you can easily recreate that festival experience in the restaurant.
The Grand Champion is almost everything on the menu in one place: pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, ribs fires, coleslaw, cornbread, barbecue beans and burnt ends. It costs £28 but if you eat it all, you win a t-shirt and a bottle of Grillstock’s own barbecue sauce.
I hadn’t seen burnt ends in Bristol before so had to sample these when I visited for lunch. Burnt ends are the trimmings from a smoked beef brisket, and have become something of a delicacy in the barbecue world.
Grillstock’s version – smoky, chewy and very moreish – is listed as one of the “Fixin’s”, with everything from dill pickles to barbecue beans.
The St Nick’s staple of pulled pork or brisket sandwiches make a welcome appearance, as do burgers and hot dogs.
There are knives and forks, but where is the fun in that? Things could get very messy indeed here, with diners seated on a 32-seater communal table which goes straight down the middle of the room, made from steel girders and railway sleepers.
One section of wall is covered with posters and photos in black and white and sepia tones of the Bristol Grillstock festival, which look like they could be from decades ago rather than in the last few years.
There is even a photo of the legendary Dr BBQ, who I had the pleasure of playing table tennis against back in 2012.
Bottles of beer can be found in a metal rack above where orders are taken at the end of the room.
They are categorised into stubbys (35.5cl), Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn EIPA, Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA and Flying Dog Underdog IPA; and bottles (50cl) – Orchard Pig Reveller, Jeremiah Weed, Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Samuel Adams.
Grillstock, 41 Triangle West, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1ER