AN INDEPENDENT restaurant boasting barbecue, beers, and bangin’ tunes opens its doors tomorrow.

Smokd, based next to TGI Fridays in Newport’s Friars Walk, will welcome hungry people in from tomorrow (August 4) - with evening bookings already full until Saturday, although some daytime slots are still available.

The barbecue inspired restaurant, which has created 20 new jobs, will offer a unique dining experience, including outdoor seating, and will source locally where possible.

The business has been set-up by Tom Gaskell and Rob King, who each have more than 25 years experience in the hospitality industry.

Mr Gaskell, who lives near Newport and has worked in Cardiff for the past five years, said: “We’ve worked more than 25 years in hospitality, but working for other people.

“We wanted to do what we want and open our own restaurant; Newport doesn’t have a massive food scene, but there is huge population growth, so we saw it as an opportunity.

“Hopefully it will be a really cool place to come – somewhere you can rock up with your family in the day or visit in the evening for some food and cocktails.”

The pair considered what they expect at a barbecue: music, drinks, and some top-notch food, which is exactly what Smokd will offer, with the venue to blast loud indie rock music.

Guests can tuck into meats – including ribs, house brisket, beef, chicken, sausage – burgers, wings, dirty nachos, and more – with vegan options and desserts – including fresh homemade doughnuts – also on the menu.

The venue will source things locally “where possible” and rather than a traditional branded bar will offer drinks – including lagers and cocktails – from Glamorgan Brewing Company and from Newport’s Spirit of Wales distillery.

Plus, everything will be homecooked and made in house – including the sauces – with even the herbs and spices mixed in house.

“We want to provide quality fresh food,” added Mr Gaskell.

“It’s a challenging time for the hospitality industry but we’ve got 20 new team members with amazing personalities who are here to deliver a great experience.

“Supporting local business is supporting local people and putting money back into the community, which benefits Newport.”


All staff at Smokd will be paid more than the current UK minimum wage for people aged 23+ regardless of their age.

Although co-owners Mr Gaskell and Mr King say they're not planning on opening a chain of hundreds of restaurants, they may branch out into Cardiff or Bristol “if people love it” and there is an “opportunity to grow” but their priority is “making sure things are done brilliantly.”

Smokd will be open from midday to 10pm seven days a week, although last food orders will be around 9.30pm.

To get a peek inside the new venue, click through the picture gallery above.