Adamson Barbecue

The Adamson Barbecue guy may be plotting a comeback

Adam Skelly and his restaurant, Adamson Barbecue, made waves over the pandemic when the controversial Skelly protested the restaurant closures, keeping the eatery open against provincial regulations. He was arrested, hit with over $180,000 in fees, filed a constitutional challenge against the city, and chaos ensued well into the summer of 2021 before the constitutional challenge was dismissed. He’s still making his voice heard, taking part in the trucker convoy for weeks and uploading anti-lockdown posts on Adamson Barbecue’s Instagram.

The eatery’s bio, though, holds an interesting tidbit of information. “No more BBQ,” reads the first line. “V2 coming soon.”

All three Adamson Barbecue locations have been closed since fall 2021, but it seems that Skelly has a new plan in the works. No information or details have been posted yet but, using history as an indication, Skelly doesn’t have a tendency to not deliver on his words.

Skelly was arrested at the Etobicoke Adamson Barbecue after he kept the restaurant open in late November 2020 and violated provincial mandates. The city eventually took over the building and locked the front door with a padlock. It was later revealed that the Aurora location was forced to close, owing roughly $50,000 in unpaid rent to the landlord. The Leaside location, on Wicksteed Avenue, also operated without a business license for four years.

In the debacle, Skelly was charged a total of nine times for bylaw violations and operating without a business license. The Court restricted his social media access, but the ban was partially lifted in January. Because of his legal history, it seems unlikely that Skelly will return to any of his former locations.

Adamson Barbecue’s kitchen equipment was auctioned off after all the closures, so Skelly will have to start virtually from scratch for his version two plans. As for the infamous Etobicoke location at 7 Queen Elizabeth Boulevard–the home of many protests–it is currently a vacant storefront, stripped of all the Adamson Barbecue trimmings. Tucked in the corner of a side street at Royal York and The Queensway, the fence is entirely removed, and the inside restaurant is completely empty.

Adamson Barbecue Vacant
The former Adamson Barbecue space in Etobicoke, vacant in February 2022.

For now, Torontonians will have to wait for Skelly’s next move–which, considering vaccine passport mandates are lifting March 1, could come sooner rather than later.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO