Over the past few months, Toronto has become the newfound home of some premier barbecue joints – each of which is slinging meat right off the grill, directly on your plates full of all the standard fixings. Below are three of our favourites that opened during Toronto’s warmer months. Beware! There’s a good chance you get hungry as you continue down the list.
If you’re a fan of Southwest America in the 1970s, Bar Coneja promises it can take you there. From the creators of Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!, the new eatery is an outdoor, patio-only backyard barbecue spot complete with an outdoor wood-fire grill. In fact, the entire kitchen is located outside on the patio, adding to a homey, retro-feeling experience located right in the middle of King West.
Food options at Bar Coneja include the braised short rib huarache, the pollo asado quesadilla or classic tater tots with spicy ketchup. If tacos are the vibe, diners can select from options like the pork jowl al pastor, mushroom carnitas or Jamaican patty tacos.
Of course, there’s also a heavily Southwest American-inspired cocktail menu to enjoy, complete with options like the Coneja Jungle Bird made with Havana 7 year rum, Campari, apricot, pineapple, cinnamon and lime. For another sweet option, look to the Pink Flamingo made with Spring Mill vodka, watermelon, strawberry, lemon and black pepper.
Reservations for the summer pop-up experience can be made through Resy. Bar Coneja is open Wednesdays through Sundays at 461 King St. W.
When Alleycatz closed down in the summer of 2020, it left a gaping hole in the Yonge and Eglinton live music scene. But, now, a new locally-owned restaurant, Benny’s Barbecue, is giving the space some life again.
On Wednesdays through Sundays, the craft smokehouse serves up carefully smoked goodness from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., or until the restaurant runs out of meat. Menu options include barbecue platters, brisket (both lean and fatty), pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, ribs and more. And each order comes with a side of pickles, coleslaw and fresh buns, with all Texas barbecue recipes crafted by Chef Ben Slan himself, with assistant pitmaster Andrew Golden helping to manage the barbecue reins.
For savoury sweet treats, Benny’s Barbecue hired a baker whose expertise brings goods like cheesy jalapeno cornbread and s’mores pie to the Benny’s menu, adding a decadent finish to Texas barbecue right in Toronto.
The world’s largest barbecue concept, family-owned since 1941, has come to Toronto. After expanding from Texas, Dickey’s BBQ empire now includes 550 stores across eight countries, including 44 U.S. states, and it has finally brought its drool-worthy smoked goodness to our city.
“It’s always exciting to debut our ‘legit Texas barbecue’ in a new community, but it’s particularly exciting when our brand crosses borders. We look forward to introducing our tastes of Texas to Toronto and more Canadians across the country,” said Laura Rea Dickey, the chain’s CEO.
Dickey’s serves up eight slow-smoked meat options and 12 wholesome sides to pair it with, which they promise to have “No B.S. (Bad Stuff)” included. Meats include brisket, marinated chicken, Polish kielbasa and a half rack of ribs, while sides include creamy spinach, jalapeno beans and onion tanglers.
Their menu is straightforward and gets right to the point. The chain boasts a full bar to help you with all of your alcoholic drinks, including Malibu sunsets to quench your thirst and spicy caesars to pair with the seasoned meat.