Shrewsbury Town’s promotion-hungry footballers savoured a tasty treat after training earlier this week – thanks to the son of a club legend.
Ryan King, whose father is former Town defender and manager Jake King, keeps close tabs on Shrewsbury’s fortunes and runs Shropshire’s first American Smokehouse – Smoke Stop. The road to BBQ – at Ford, just outside Shrewsbury.
He has now launched a new venture alongside the restaurant – a striking yellow catering van which goes on the road dishing up the authentic taste of flavours from across the pond – and decided to treat the high-flying Town squad and club staff to lunch at the Greenhous Meadow.
The Town players, who are looking to seal promotion from League Two at Cheltenham on Saturday, enjoyed the taste experience together with the club’s staff.
“As a family we have tremendous affection for Shrewsbury Town,” said Ryan. “It’s fantastic to see the club doing so well and closing in on promotion, so we thought it would be nice to come down to the stadium and treat everyone to lunch.
“There is a healthy side to what we serve, as American food is not just about big juicy burgers. We gave the players chicken – which had been cooked for eight hours in our smokers which came from Memphis – jacket potatoes and salad which they all enjoyed.
“We’ve established close links with the club since we opened Smoke Stop as we sponsor the away kit of Cameron Gayle – a right back just like my dad used to be – and we also offer 20 per cent off the total bill for Shrewsbury Town season ticket holders.”
Town manager Micky Mellon said: “They’ve come and fed the lads and it’s a fantastic set up, it’s terrific. We must thank the King family for coming down and supporting us. It’s something different for the boys and we’ve all enjoyed it.”
Matt Williams, the club’s chief executive, added: “We’re delighted to support Jake and Ryan. They do a lot with the football club so it’s important that we give them something back to promote their new venture. It’s something that we were delighted to help with.
“It’s great that we’re working with local businesses and they’re working with us.”
The specially-adapted Mercedes catering van serves up the most popular American dishes from Smoke Stop’s menu, a selection of succulent burgers, pulled pork, ribs, buffalo wings and much more.
The taste of America has proved to be immensely popular with diners since Smoke Stop opened its doors last June and plans are now in place to provide catering at wedding receptions as well as music festivals and other events.
The van has been completely modernised, fitted with a state of the art kitchen and customised to make it as visually eye-catching as possible.
“It’s nice and bright, and it features all our logos,” said Ryan. “People who have spotted it in the car park have been asking about it as it’s a very striking vehicle.
“We are already taking bookings for weddings, charity events, wherever people want us to go basically. We want to hit food festivals, music festivals and really bring our love of American food to people on the move.
“I’ve been to a lot of festivals over the years and eaten at them. We cater for a market that is completely different to any other kind of van you would see at a festival.
“The beauty is we can now drive anywhere and serve people – we’re really excited as we have been looking to get something like this in place since we opened Smoke Stop.”
Ryan, who runs Smoke Stop with his girlfriend Sophie Gwilliam, added: “This is another way of adding to my dream really of what I want to do and the van will pretty much offer everything that we do already at Smoke Stop.
“The food will be smoked in house in the authentic American way so everyone will be getting the food we offer, but this time on the road – it really is ideal for special occasions like weddings and other celebrations.”
To find out more about Smoke Stop’s new catering vehicle heading your way, call (01743) 851944.
Pictured: Ryan King, centre, from Smoke Stop. the road to BBQ, with Shrewsbury Town players Tyrone Barnett and Liam Lawrence, the captain.