The creation of SMOAK

We were delighted when we found our premises, a small quaint property in the Lower Underbank, Stockport, but fate had other plans, a global pandemic and lockdown. On the day lockdown was announced all legal hurdles disappeared and everything was ready to complete, we walked away narrowly avoiding disaster before even starting.

Fast forward a few years and we were very hungry to get started. Nine unsuccessful offers on sites before stumbling across lucky number ten. It was a doer upper but this was a hurdle we could overcome and it was oozing potential. Our friends and family were amazing and did everything to assist in creating the beautiful space you see today.

We sat down and started to plan our concept. We visited roasteries all around the country to find out what makes that perfect cup and met numerous industry experts to learn the magic formula. Coffee and machinery selected it was on to the food.

Now I’m a keen foodie and know my flavours but I’m no chef, we wanted to create a concept that could show off what I could do without being bogged down by the professional elements of cheffing. It was clear we had to put a lot of effort in at the planning stage in order to create something great without losing the quality at the food pass. ‘Simplicity at its best’ was starting to evolve, but what could we do that was different, tasty and unique? More importantly, what could we do that would make me want to go there for lunch?

Smoking had become a hobby in lockdown and a skill I was slowly learning and I’d cured meat a couple of times domestically. At 3am I woke up with a bolt “pastrami!” I couldn’t go back to sleep and watched Youtube videos on Pastrami until it was time to drop my daughter to school. We sat down and worked out some other fillings and sauces we could smoak from scratch.

So the idea of SMOAK was born. We organised our suppliers and after a couple of wobbles we ended up with the bagels and fillings you see today. Week on week we tweak the food making it tastier, more moist, fresher, there’s always room for improvement. But there was an elephant in the room, the pastrami was good, just good. So after a few months we tried a few salt beef cooks amongst ourselves and made the humongous decision to change our best seller. Goodbye Pastrami, hello Salt Beef! The Salt Beef is the same brisket and cured the same but this is a different product. We were pretty nervous but were confident it was superior and thankfully you guys agreed!

We will never stop improving and when you look at where we came from you can see just how far we have come.

SMOAK Coffee & Bagels – Simplicity at its best