Grillstock Smokehouse: Thinking Locally Acting Hillbilly 1

Grillstock Smokehouse

Thinking Locally Acting Hillbilly


Walthamstow, London



One of the hardest things to get right when in a relationship is the mid-week date venue because not only does it have to be better than what you are about to make at home, it also has to be way more fun than staying in. Thankfully, Grillstock Smokehouse promises to do both of those.

Dwelling on the edge of Walthamstow’s town centre, this eatery with a fair for ‘hillbilly’ décor on a street named ‘Hoe’ sounds like a hard sell for a date location, but peel back the ridiculous criticisms and Grillstock offers itself as a fun getaway from the kitchen and a fun alternative to your local café serving plates of Americana.

Grillstock Smokehouse Menu with a chef's special option.

Initially proposed to me as a TGI’s alternative, it is easy to see the similarities between the two, even if they are few in number.

The design of the two are similar too as everywhere you look Americanised paraphernalia decorate the walls like a proud parent with their child’s drawings on the fridge.

And like TGI’s, there’s a pleasant ‘busyness’ at Grillstock even at quiet times as service is quick to your every need, even if it means that they stop doing something else.

It's a cross between a dive bar, truck stop and local diner; which really disorientates you into believing you're overseas, just for this meal.

If anything, being at Grillstock is very similar to being at a bar, as both a drink or service is never too far away and is friendly and helpful without fail.

(In fact, I would like to make a note of Sunday, one of the waitresses who seems to be famous for her Grillstock hospitality; a reputation well earned.)

Coupled with the blues, jazz and soft rock emanating from the speakers it means that Grillstock has a distinctive vibe about it that makes you want to stay out just that little bit longer, drinking a little bit more.


If it's not American, they don't want it.

In fact, Grillstock has the potential to replace your choice pub due to the strong drinks catalogue which ranges from root beer to moonshine & a two-for-one offer on all cocktails between midday and 7pm and 9:30pm till close.                                                          

So Grillstock offers to be a good time, but without the word ‘bar’ on the front it’s the food that should be making you want to bring a date here, so how is it?

Well Grillstock’s food is polarising. On one hand reviews are happy to praise the outlet for a variety of things ranging from sauce richness to tenderness and I can very quickly agree with them; personally, I’ve never had a rack of ribs fall away like the ones I had for the price.

A full rack of Smokehouse ribs with house slaw' and fries on the side.

However, on our trip things just didn’t seem to fall together for Grillhouse. My date’s Chicken burger was dry to the point of flavourless & my ribs seemed to need something extra to make it as interesting to eat at the end as it was at the start; despite the house slaw’ & fries on the side to accompany it.

But these criticisms need to be taken with a pinch of salt as it seems that the best experience of Grillstock comes in the evening and on weekends whilst we visited during a mid-week lunch when only the Grillstock dedicated attend.

So what role does Grillstock Smokehouse occupy in your list of known date locations? Well it’s a tough question, but the answer has already been given.

If this doesn't sound like a good time, I don't know what does.

Because once you look past the superficial, you quickly realise that Grillstock fills the gap between afterwork drinks and dinner time, especially if the two of you are looking to get out during the week or just don’t want to stay in during the weekend.

So head out to the smokehouse when you can & get your hillbilly on; you owe it to your date to have a good time.


198 Hoe St, Walthamstow, London E17 4BF



  • Two for one on drinks, twice a day!

  • Bus, Train and Tube links all within a 5 minute walk makes it very easy and stress free to get to.
  • Superb service makes the whole experience feel hospitable. 
  • Music is different to what you will be hearing on the radio all day so even if blues, jazz or soft rock aren't your thing, it still feels refreshing.
  • Fair sized portions mean that if you do eat, you shouldn't be full after.
  • Kids eat free. 


  • Food pricing feels strange and not particularly value for money, or a good spend either.

  • Scarce decorative choice means you won't be choosing here as a 'date night' location. Instead, it's a place you can take your date in the hopes that the two of you will enjoy yourselves.
  • It's bare bones design makes you feel like you're in an upscale school cafeteria & is more functional than aesthetic- which fits within the theme of the place.

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