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Memphis (Style) Smoke House

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Hey

I noticed this store front on Yonge, just north of Sheppard on the west side. I stopped to take a look and it's not open. Looks like they're renovating.
Anyone know anything about this place??

DT

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    1. The Memphis BBG in Woodbridge kicks serious ass:) Awesome place. As for the people trying to 'imitate' your style of restaurant...thats the business. Take it as a sign of respect...you are the best and they want to copy you! Lets just see what they can do themselves...you never know! So don't get gripey...just keep doing your thing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: The Macallan 18

        Macallan, how variable is the Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge? I have only been once a few years ago and never returned. The food was just.not.good and Woodbridge is too far to just go by on a whim.

        by not good I mean: dry tasteless ribs, sugary sauce, scary coleslaw.

        I'd love to know what you love about it.

      2. I just had Memphis BBQ over the weekend and i really enjoyed. I'm a big time BBQ guy and it was the most authentic southern style BBQ i have had in TO. I ordered the Elvis platter which was very reasonable (RIbs, wings, pulled pork, fries, a slice of cornbread, coleslaw and beans). I have yet to try Phil's or HOP. I have already tried Dipomas (BLAH), Baton Rouge (Decent) and Purple Pig (not worth what they charge).

        2 Replies
        1. re: demeen25

          what were prices like? out of all the things you sampled what was the best??

          1. re: demeen25

            Are you referring to Memphis Style BBQ on Yonge or Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge? I just want to know if the Style BBQ is open yet.

          2. I'm talking about the one in Woodbridge. Don't know if Memphis Style is open yet...
            I think the platter that i ordered was $17. The best of the Elvis platter was definitely the Ribs and the Pulled porked. Very tender, good flavour and not dry at all. You could really tell that they smoked it. The beans were good, along with the wings and the cornbread (not to sweet). Slaw was alright.

            1 Reply
            1. re: demeen25

              hm that sounds like a really good price, I wonder how the prices at the new Memphis Style will be..

            2. Looks like these guys are ready to roll. I walked by yesterday and the front of house is completely done, and the staff were rolling up cutleries. So who wants to be the guinea pig here? :-)

              1. The place is now open. It looks great, all shining and new. It's a real restaurant with a Memphis blues "theme" and looks like it would be a nice and cozy place for drinks after work. They have an impressive single malt selection for a small bar, though not one decent bourbon. Just like in Memphis? Blue Light on tap.

                Unfortunately, my intitial experience with the food is not encouraging.

                Right off the bat, I could not detect one iota of smoke when I walked in. Perhaps the have the best ventilation money can buy? Even if they do, and even if everything is smoked out back and then reheated in the kitchen, I should still be smelling smoke. A well smoked piece of meat will permeate it's surroundings with ease.

                I order the brisket sandwich to go. No complaints about the price, it was a good amount of food for $10. It comes with (from the freezer) thick cut fries that are actually not bad and the standard lackluster, watery coleslaw. The bun is a hamburger egg bun that does not stand up to the meat and quickly becomes a soggy, squishy mess. I toss it.

                Worse, the meat has not been smoked. While moist, it appears to be almost steamed. My guess is they used the standard cheat of wrapping the brisket in tin foil for most of the cooking time. It renders what looks like quality beef dull and flavourless.

                Also, the sandwich comes without any BBQ sauce. Now, I can live without sauce if the brisket has been cooked properly, but in this case I am forced to make an emergency BBQ sauce with packs of ketchup and liberal squirts of Suree Brand Sriracha sauce. This helps a little. Still, I'm very disappointed. You can't take shortcuts with BBQ. A long cooking time and the right amount of smoke are essential.

                To be fair, I just ordered one item and they have just opened. I will be going for a sit down lunch tomorrow and will be trying the ribs. Hopefully, this is just an off day and they'll be getting it right.

                Toronto has so few BBQ places (especially ones reachable be subway) that I'm really rooting for these guys.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Pantz

                  Just a couple of points to touch on.
                  First, I've been told that it's illegal in Ontario to cook food outside for consumption inside. That from a restaurantuer.
                  Secondly, while I agree you should smell smoke inside, the pit will take a good while to start churning out great bbq. I've been going to Dreamland in Huntsville, Al. It's been amazing to see how much better the ribs have been getting over the years.
                  Thirdly, I'm glad to see a place that's selling food that isn't drowned in bbq sauce. It's alarming that they don't offer any as a condiment.

                  DT

                  1. re: Davwud

                    Thanks for the feedback, Davwud. I agree that consistency over the years will define a BBQ joint. And that the application of BBQ sauce should be up to the individual, but it should be an option. I put it down to just-opened-jitters.

                    I'm curious about your comment on cooking food outside for consumption inside being illegal in Ontario. I know Phil's has a large smoker in the backyard of the restaurant. Is there some kind of exception made for certain types of establishments? Is this something that would be regulated by the Ministry of Health, or do municipality's bylaws also come into play?

                    Anyway, I'm glad to report my second experience with Memphis Style Smoke House is encouraging.

                    Still not much of a smoke smell, but there's a faint scent of hickory in the air when we enter.

                    There are four of us, so we order the BB King platter. For about $55 you get 1 whole rack of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, a whole chicken, buns, 2 ramekins of beans and 2 ramekins of BBQ sauce.

                    For the ribs, we have the Memphis Dry Rub Style. We also order a half rack of the sauced version for comparison.

                    On the table is a squeeze bottle of BBQ sauce, which they say they make on site using other condiments i.e. ketchup, vinegar, etc.. Nothing wrong with this; the sauce is nicely balanced, not thick or gloopy, with the emphasis slightly towards vinegar rather than sugar. They also offer other versions with your meal.

                    We ask for their hottest sauce with the wet ribs, but I think there is a mix up. What we get is pretty much the same as the BBQ sauce with our platter, which is like the table sauce with a bit more molasses in it. I prefer the table sauce to this version.

                    Now the platter -

                    The Ribs are quite good. The Dry style are the best of the platter offerings, with nice, pink meat and a crispy exterior. They can be pulled apart instead of cut, but it's obvious they have been cooked with dry heat for several hours. No parboiling! Most of the fat has been rendered, so they are succulent but not too fatty. Best of all, they have a nice, slightly understated smokey flavour. They only lose points for the rub, which seems a bit dull. While they don't need any help, a few drops of the table BBQ sauce is a nice contrast against the richness of the meat.

                    The wet style of the Ribs seems to be the dry version finished with some sauce. Not really improved by any grill caramelization as far as I can tell, so would probably not bother with them again.

                    The Pulled Pork is really dry. We had asked for BBQ sauce on the side, so I'm not sure if they would normally sauce the pork before serving. Without the sauce, you can taste a faint smoke flavour and the rub. Seems like they may have shaked some rub over the pork before serving? Adding the Table Sauce improves the moisture factor of the pork and adds nice contrast. However, it overwhelms any smoke flavour. Would like to see the meat moist and with more smoke, but it's still pretty good.

                    The brisket is much improved from the sandwich experience I had the day before. I can now taste smoke, though faintly. The beef is also a little dry. And no real exterior skin or "bark" to talk of. I would like to see something other than hickory as the smoke for the brisket. I know some have issues with mesquite, but I believe brisket is the one meat that can take that smoke on and not be overwhelmed.

                    The chicken is the other big highlight of the meal. Moist, falling off the bone (both white and dark meat) and with the smoke levle as nicely balanced as the ribs. The skin, while not crisp (hard to do with the low or indirect heat) is nicely rendered of it's fat.

                    The beans are just ok. They lack the richness that would come from longer cooking and including some pork or beef bits.

                    All in all, a very promising meal. I would return any time for the dry ribs and chicken. The brisket and pulled pork need more work. Right now, it seems they are getting it right with the items that can cook in several hours, but need to fine tune the items that take 8 to 10 hours or more. I would like them to be a little more aggressive with the smoke, but appreciate that they are being subtle with the amount, as opposed to overwhelming the food.

                    1. re: Pantz

                      Great review Pantz! Appreciate the detail - it's very helpful.

                      Think I'll give it a try for the ribs:)

                      1. re: Pantz

                        I gave them a try last week and had the same experience. The texture of the chicken is correct (soft, moist, falls off the bone), but there is ZERO smoke flavour in the meat. The fries and buns are really underwhelming. It's not Phil's, but there is nothing like it in that neighbourhood either. They'll probably do decent business. Can't say I'm dying to go back until they find some smoke flavour.

                        1. re: climacus

                          Camp 31 is still undefeated in this town... sounds like Memphis BBQ are poseurs at best...

                          1. re: TexSquared

                            Problem is, Camp 31 is nowhere near this town :-(

                  2. Also tried it and it's just OK. Not worth a detour.
                    The dry rub on the ribs is way too bland. Needs kicking up a few notches.
                    The pulled pork wasn't too dry (as mentioned above) - but it's definitely on the greasy side.
                    The BBQ sauce is very acidic/vinegary - approaching a Carolina style rather than Memphis.

                    But my overall impression was grease rather than smoke. Exemplified by a grease stain on the side of the plate that hadn't been cleaned off before presentation.

                    So yet another disappointment. Maybe we'll eventually get a BBQ place in toronto that's worthy of the name.
                    My best fix (although not smoky) is still the dry-rub ribs at Universal Grill! With sweet potato fries, of course.

                    1. I was about to write a new post for this. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my wife and I had to spend a night in North York. We were looking for a place to eat and spotted the Memphis Smokehouse on Yonge just north of Sheppard (on the west side near the Pizzaville). We weren't dressed for Chez Laurent and just wanted to get some food that wasn't the ordinary, so we decided to check this place out.
                      Honestly, it was a little suspect at first. I had some serious doubts based on appearances. But there were lots of people taking doggie bags out of the restaurant proving that the portions were big and the food was good enough to take home.
                      We ordered a combo of pulled pork and brisket. The brisket was pretty good, not as tender as I would've liked but the pulled pork was amazing (great sauce). The sides were beans (best ever) cornbread (great and I don't really like cornbread), green salad (the best everyday Asian dressing I've had) and cole slaw (most likely out of a package or at least it tasted that way). We realized we should've ordered the ribs so we got a plate of rib ends. They proved that the ribs were the way to go.
                      As I was sitting there, post meal, picking my teeth, an older black man came out of the kitchen. Definitely a contrast to the Asian staff that took care of the diners. He came right over and introduced himself to me (southern accent and all) as Sam Moye from Memphis, TN. He gave me a nutshell of his life story and how he ended up running a kitchen in North York. His brother Robert is a popular BBQ chef in the states. A couple from Toronto visited his restaurant in Memphis and wanted to open one here. He saw our empty plate of rib ends and declared them junk saying that the ribs were the best thing on the menu and so was his smoked chicken.
                      We're definitely making the trip from the east end back up to the Memphis Smokehouse again. I would strongly recommend it

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: air621

                        Nice review, air621. Makes me want to head up there soon. Oh wait...I'm going to Tennessee in a couple of weeks...maybe I'll wait. ; )

                        1. re: air621

                          How much were the entrees and apps approx?

                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            I think our combo (which was ordered off the menu) was 20.99, This would be too much food for one person. Then the rib ends were 8.99 for 4 racks. The pitcher of Stella was 17 or so. I'm not sure how much the extra ramekin of beans were (they were worth whatever we paid) With a generous tip and tax the total bill was $70.

                            1. re: air621

                              thats pretty good, thanks!

                        2. Just want to add that I think the place in woodbridge is terrible

                          The pulled pork is almost inedible, the ribs are alright although quite fatty... Overall I much prefer Sweet Smoke in Oakville, their pulled pork sandwich is the best I've ever had in Ontario by far

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: duckdown

                            Obviously not run by the same guy as in North York

                            1. re: air621

                              Definitely not -- your review sounds great

                              I think I'll head over there tomorrow

                              Does anyone have an exact address or intersection by any chance? I'm not familiar with the area

                              Thanks

                              1. re: duckdown

                                4916 Yonge St.
                                North York, ON
                                M2N 5N5

                                It's on Yonge, just north of Sheppard on the west side.

                                DT

                            2. re: duckdown

                              I second Sweet Smoke in Oakville -- the pulled pork is fantastic!
                              I tried the crabcake sandwhich the last time I was there - it was ok. I prefer the pork
                              Beans as a side were also very good - had excellent snap to them and there were real hunks of pork/bacon in them

                            3. Was at the Woodbridge restaurant and was not impressed at all. Had the ribs which where dry and lacking smoke flavour nor could I see a smoke ring. The pulled pork was better than the ribs, but not as good as the pulled pork at Lickin’ Chicken on Airport Rd. I was told by a friend that the chicken wings are very good at the Woodbridge location; I have not gone back so I never had the wings.
                              Never knew that there was a bbq in Oakville, I’ll check out Sweet Smoke very soon, thanks duckdown.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Pastryrocks

                                Lykn Chicken has pretty good smoked chicken (can be inconsistent) but I didn't realize their pulled pork was slow smoked bbq. I'll order the pulled pork next time to check it out.

                                http://www.lyknchicken.com/menu.html

                              2. So I *finally* got around to stopping in for a beer here tonight. Had to take somewhat of a detour on my way home but honestly, I enjoyed it.

                                Now admittedly I only stayed for 2 quick pints and ordered their special of the day (A pulled pork dinner) but needless to say it was very good. I did not find it greasy, nor dry or anything like that as someone above me had said. it was leaps and bounds better than Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge, not even in the same league. The BBQ sauce the pork was coated with had a fruity background to it, as Sweet Smoke's sauce is slightly "orange-y" I think I detected lemon in this one.

                                As I finished my 2nd pint and was about to pay my bill an older African-American gentleman introduced himself as the main chef of the restaurant, he had lived in southern USA for his whole life and was brought out here to play the role of "executive chef" by the Korean owners of the restaurant. I told him I really enjoyed my meal and would definitely be back for the ribs.. He told me don';t forget the chicken either, so my next visit I'll be buying the smoked chicken & ribs combo

                                Overall, a nice meal and I would definitely return. I've had FAR worse in Ontario (cough, phils or memphis woodbridge)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: duckdown

                                  That was Sam Moye. He was really nice when I met him. And he talked up his chicken to me as well

                                2. I'm not sure it we're stillt alking about the place in Woodbridge or the one on Yonge north of Sheppard anymore but I'd like to offer my $.02.

                                  I've had both and the one in Woodbridge is far superior to the the Sheppard/Yonge St. Location. I took out from Sheppard/Yonge on Monday and it was absolutely awful. Tasteless, fatty, side ribs with limp undercooked fries and a miniscule amount of beans. At least in Woodbridge you have a variety of options for wings and much better ribs.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: airsey

                                    I can't believe anybody would think the Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge is superior. I've eaten there many times and am consistently disappointed..

                                    Teenagers working the grills, ribs that have a boring dry rub and are grilled before serving until they are no longer tender but charred instead, and a pulled pork sandwich that tastes like rubber.

                                    Their wings are good but they try to cut corners by giving you their deep-fried wings rather than the smoked ones (unless you specifically ask for them)

                                    I have to say from everything I could see from the location, to the bar (woodbridge doesnt even serve beer.. no beer with my ribs?), to the quality of the food, the one on Yonge st. blows it away (in my opinion)

                                    of course differing opinions is what keeps things interesting though so I enjoy reading others reviews

                                    Guess we'll agree to disagree :)

                                    Cheers

                                    1. re: duckdown

                                      My sister, BIL and I finally went to Memphis Smokehouse yesterday evening and the general consensus is that the ribs are "very good." Not great, but "very good."

                                      From the BIL, the rib master, that is high praise indeed! LOL

                                      We began with the Pulled Pork Nachos, a definite hit with us. Just the perfect portion size for three people. Cheese, jalapeno, black olives, tomato, lettuce, onion, pulled pork, with BBQ sauce, sour cream, and salsa on the side. You could also choose pulled chicken or pulled brisket for the nachos.

                                      My sister ordered the Rib & Brisket combo, my BIL ordered the Rib & Pulled Pork Combo, and I stuck with the Rib Platter (Heavyweight, meaning 6-7 ribs). You have your choice of fries, salad (including garden or ceasar), or rice. You can also choose wet or dry ribs.

                                      Each meal came with a small triange of cornbread, a small containers of baked beans and coleslaw. Just enough for a couple of mouthfuls. We all thought the side dishes were nicely done, especially the baked beans.

                                      There is a choice of sauces- mild, Auntie's BBQ, and Hallelujah Hot. We loved the hot sauce. It's a slow, sly burn at the back of the throat and by the time you finish your ribs you are truly feeling it! LOL

                                      My portion of ribs I found greasy- there was grease running down my hands as I ate it. I've had lots of ribs and that has never happened before. My sister and BIL did not have that problem, though. So I'm not sure what happened.

                                      Also, I'm not a fan of ribs when the rib tips/ends are left on, it just turns into this giant piece of chewy fat at the end. That's just my personal preference. But the meat did fall off the bone.

                                      The brisket was wonderfully tender and delicious. We could see the smoke ring. The pulled pork was tasty but a little dry, and again you could see the smoke ring on the ends. With sauce, it was really good and it added the moisture it needed.

                                      Sam came out and greeted us and told us a lot about his history. He is such a sweet man. He was a retired military man (22+ years) when his brother, the owner of the Corky's rib empire in the US, called him to go cook in Toronto! Sam was living in Atlanta, GA at the time. The owner is actually Korean, hence the staff being all Asian.

                                      Sam said that he cooks all the meat, the sauces, the cornbread, the baked beans, but not the coleslaw- he said it's not the way he would do it, but, the owner is adament that it stay the way it is.

                                      He showed us his smokers, each one fits 300 slabs of ribs. If I understood correctly, he can only work one because of fire code regulations. As for the lack of 'smoke' smell, it has to do with the extensive fan system they had to install to meet those fire code regulations. Sam said he's disappointed, because his brother, at just the Corky's Memphis location, has 8 smokers! LOL

                                      Sam is also in love, he said he met a woman seven weeks ago and the food tastes much better now because there is more love going into it- like I said, a really sweet guy.

                                      So, an appetizer, three meals, 2 beers, 3 ice teas came to $102.00. Not bad I think, for three full bellies and a meet & greet with the chef himself.

                                      The service was great- if we asked for extra sauces or water or napkins they were brought out right away, and the meals were served right on time.

                                      We'll definitely be returning.

                                      1. re: czthemmnt

                                        Will definitely check it out. (Will have to combine a trip to Memphis on Yonge with a trip to Cuisine of India for their stellar tandoori paneer - hope it hasn't gone downhill in the past couple of years. I still dream of it!) Also reminds me that I haven't yet visited Tyrone at the blue Royal Burger BBQ shack on the boardwalk at Lakeshore West and Ellis/Windermere this summer.

                                        1. re: czthemmnt

                                          Hey there :)

                                          yeah i liked it too -- i didn't find mine greasy at all so im not sure what happened, but i agree 100% about the 'rib tips' being left on. I absolutely hate that also, i've mentioned it on here before

                                          i had both the pulled pork and the ribs and i thought both were quite good, although others here did not care for the pulled pork

                                          shrug

                                          you should check out mississauga rib fest this weekend for lots more southern smoked ribs

                                          cheers and thanks for the review :)

                                          1. re: duckdown

                                            Went to Phils Original BBQ last night for the first time in a long time - wanted to see what it was like after Restaurant Makeover paid them a visit. Food is still the same - delicious. The combo platter is pretty darned large - chicken, ribs and brisket with sides of coleslaw and excellent baked beans (mixed with pieces of meat). You smell like smoke as soon as you enter the place - service is always with a smile. You won't leave hungry, that's for sure. We arrived within an hour of closing time, and weren't rushed a bit. I'd recommend it. I live not too far from the North York Memphis BBQ place, and have wondered about it. With the many mentions in this column, I guess it's worth a try. Anyone been there lately? How are the ribs?

                                          2. re: czthemmnt

                                            do you recall the approx. price of the combos (ribs and pork for example)?

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              Hungry, this should answer most of your questions. See, this is why I always include a weblink AND always use the correct name and spelling unless I'm slagging a place. Makes the search for information soooo much easier. Adding "style" to their name just made it difficult for people to find them. Rant over.
                                              http://memphis-smoke.com/index.html

                                              1. re: Googs

                                                oh thank you!! I KNEW i had seen a website before I just could not find it anywhere.

                                                1. re: Googs

                                                  From your link
                                                  "This is the real Southern-style Memphis barbeque, cooked the old fashioned way while utiliing the latest in rotisserie technology" - does this sound authentic?
                                                  And I'm still not clear whether the style has changed from their original formula (which was over-greasy and certainly not memphis-style). Incidentally memphis-style was the least desirable of all the places I visited in the past couple of years - didn't find a single place that did more than one type of food well (and wrote it up on the Memphis Board). What I want is some Kansas City style (much better) or some New Mexico style (my biggest surprise - didn't have a poor meal in either Albuquerque or Santa Fe). And the second-worst was Nashville - also Memphis style. (I exclude South Carolina style from the evaluation as it's so different - just not comparable).

                                                  Assuming that Memphis Smoke House has indeed changed its preparation (even though its name hasn't changed) can somebody tell me how the food has changed from the original disaster I tried last year, as their publicity blurbs have completely confused me. What exactly did they change "after their vacation" and when was that vacation?

                                                  PS Kansas City BBQ is also 'hickory smoked' - can anyone explain what is 'Memphis' about this place.

                                                  On re-reading before hitting 'post' it seems as if I'm being over-critical - I really just want to know what, if anything, is good about this place - particularly in light of the awful meal I had last Fall. I don't want a long trek to find a repetition. If it really has improved/changed, tell me how.

                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                    OK. Couldn't wait any longer. Was in the area so decided to give this place another try. REALLY WEIRD!
                                                    First, no sign of any Southern Gentleman in the kitchen. ALL the servers employees were Asian (actually I've had some decent Asian ribs - but not really any that could be termed Memphis-style).
                                                    And indeed the food didn't resemble anything I've had before that called itself memphis-style!
                                                    First, nothing resembling Wonderbread (a staple for every memphis BBQ - although, for me, it's one of things I dislike, so possibly a plus). And they served cornbread - again, never seen this with any Memphis BBQ before. And the sauces all seemed to be the type that are normally served with chicken-wings (rather than pork).
                                                    HOWEVER, the meat itself wasn't bad. The smoking was very light and seemed to be on one side only (possibly didn't turn them in the smoker). Didn't detect smoke in the beans, which were OK but not particularly BBQ style.
                                                    I had both the pulled pork and the ribs and both were perfectly acceptable - certainly equal to any other BBQ in Toronto (I know, not a particularly strong comparison). I did like the textures which were the best part of the meal for me. Both the pulled pork and the ribs had some 'resistance' to them (Erly please note!), not the 'mush' (sometimes described as 'fall-off-the-bone') that is sometimes found. So for $25 (with a beer) not a bad deal.
                                                    I note that the 'lurkers' who came out of the ether to rave about this place seem to have retreated again. Last night only about 5 tables were occupied and the servers were pushing the alcohol very hard (albeit in English that was sometimes difficult to understand). So the line-ups previously mentioned seem to have dissipated.

                                                    But, overall, worth a try if you're in the neighbourhood and don't want fine dining. But definitely not worth a detour. And it's within walking distance (10 minutes) from Jersey Boys (although I wasn't overly impressed with that show either).

                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                      Odd, every time I've been there the southern guy has come out to ask how the food is.

                                                      It is true that they hire entirely asian wait staff who's english is absolutely HORRIBLE -- I don't know WHY they do that. They also have NO understanding of the items you are buying off the menu... But whatever, I usually just sit at the bar anyway

                                                      I haven't been in a few months but I enjoyed it the last time I was there. Pulled pork had a decent flavor and wasn't overly sauced, I've had far worse in the GTA

                                                      Disappointed to hear they still are using the terrible waitrresses though for sure, and not sure where their chef was.

                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                        "Smoking was very light and seemed to be on one side only."

                                                        You shouldn't need to turn it. Unless it's sitting on a table or something that won't let smoke get at an underside.

                                                        I'm sure you've seen smoke before, it goes everywhere.

                                                        DT

                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                          Exactly my point. How come it seemed to be on one side only?
                                                          Was it really smoked? I guess I was too subtle.

                                                      2. re: estufarian

                                                        estufarian, traditional smokers large enough to supply bbq for a commercial establishment used to be large offset cookers, or brick pits as seen in Texas BBQ joints. With today's health codes and zoning laws these types of pits aren't feasible to be used in an urban setting. What has emerged is modern commercial pits made by companies such as Southern Pride, Ole Hickory, Friedrich, Cookshack, J.R. Manufacturing etc. These units can be disassembled and properly cleaned. Most of these use rotisseries for ease of loading, and even smoke penetration.

                                                        I haven't been to Memphis Style Smoke House but I am pretty sure you'll find one of these cookers in their kitchen. Google the product names for more info, they're pretty neat machines.

                                                        1. re: estufarian

                                                          This is nonsense. Memphis style can be made with any equipment and it isn't necessarily hickory. Classic Memphis style is ribs cooked with dry rub and no sauce. It is a very simple style. This how they make their ribs in Memphis Style, so they are making classic Memphis style exactly right. The problem is that they don't do it very well.

                                              2. Went to Memphis style smoke house on Yonge on the weekend for dinner. I liked the atmosphere, it was a clean room and the patio looked like it would have been nice (if we ever have a nice evening to eat on it). Service was also really great, the young lady was very attentive and remembered every little detail of our order (there are alot of choices with these meals, ie. dry, which sauce, which side etc). Onto the food: we started with the nachos with beef brisket. The brisket was good, but I would have prefered it if it were tossed in the bbq sauce as apposed to it being served on the side (its hard to dip nachos in sauce while all of the toppings are spilling off). I also think the chips were a little bit stale. For mains we tried the following combos: Ribs and wings, ribs and pulled pork, ribs and quarter chicken. We all got the ribs dry with the Aunt Shirleys BBQ sauce on the side and chose fries as our side. The meal was also served with baked beans, coleslaw and cornbread. The ribs were very large, but I did find that alot of what was on the bone was big chunks of fat that I really just had to cut off. Now, I know that ribs are not a lean meat choice, but I did find they were fattier than usual. The sauce was sweet, a bit smokey and had a tiny hint of spice. I liked it and would try it again if I were to return. The pulled pork was good, but not great. Again it was served dry with a little squirt of bbq sauce on top and I really prefer when the pork has been mixed with the sauce. The quarter chicken was proclaimed juicy and crispy on the outside and the wings were "very good, but not the best". They were apparently a little bit dry as well. I tried the coleslaw, it was good, the vinegar variety and the baked beans were a bit bland (could have used more spice and sweetness). The cornbread had great flavour but was really dried out. I assume it had been made fairly early in the day and had just sat around until dinner. Fries were steakcut style, I think were probably frozen but I still enjoyed them. All in all, it wasn't an amazing experience but we all left happy. There are a few things I was disapointed with but I would probably try it again if I were craving ribs. The bill with 3 pops, 2 beers, 3 combos and nachos was 96$ after tax before tip.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                  If the slaw was vinegary, then again, I don't believe that's Memphis style, either. On Food network the show on Memphis BBQ showed a creamy-yellow slaw-when I googled Memphis slaw the recipe called for mayo and Dijon mustard, among the other things.

                                                2. We made a reservation at this restaurant 3 days in advance for a small birthday party for Friday evening, Dec 26. We had guests driving in from beyond Hamilton. On Friday afternoon a voice mail message was left informing us that the restaurant would be closed.

                                                  This caused a lot of anxiety, multiple phone calls to try and find another venue at the last minute, and attempts to re-route people in transit.

                                                  It doesn't matter how good the food may be, this type of customer service is unacceptable unless there was some last minute over-riding emergency. Thanks a lot Memphis Style!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: torontovore

                                                    At least they called. There's numerous posts from people who show up at places only to find them closed with no explanation or a "Family emergency" which can be dismissed as not true.

                                                    DT

                                                  2. I've been to the Memphis north of Sheppard twice in the last month and have really enjoyed it both times.
                                                    The ribs are great, the meat just falls off the bone. I also love the wings. Don't know if I can go back to deep fried chicken wings after having these! They are great.

                                                    I do have a few issues with the customer service:
                                                    -very difficult to understand our servers. The language issue needs to be addressed.
                                                    -on our first visit they completely forgot about an order of fries. The place wasn't busy, in fact there was only one other couple in there.
                                                    -too hard to get drink refills. When I finish my beer I put the empty glass near the edge of the table to someone can see it and come over to see if I want another. If I am still eating my meal, I am going to want another. Last time I ended up only having two beers where I easily could have had 3 or maybe even 4. Multiple wait staff would walk right by my empty glass while I am just sitting there (I stop eating when I don't have a drink to go along with my food).

                                                    Aside from these issues, the food is so good I will be back soon.

                                                    Also should mention that Sam is a very friendly and kind man who does seem to care if the customers are enjoying themselves. If he ever leaves, this place is finished.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Beauvoir

                                                      Seems there are two 'camps'. One wants 'fall-off-the- bone'; the other wants tender, but with a bit of consistency - sort of 'al dente'.
                                                      I'm in the latter camp (which seems to be the most vocal). That's the style in Kansas City (for example - as it has been my favourite style overall). But, given that this place calls itself 'memphis' style, I'll cut them some slack as I do find that style to be a bit more tender - although fall-off-the bone is stretching a bit too far.
                                                      But overall, Memphis has settled down to a level of 'competent' (in my opinion). It has certainly improved to the point that I don't mind going if in a group and I'm in the area (not worth a special trip). The service is indeed atrocious! At least you saw multiplt wait-steff. I assumed it was one server and some visiting friends. Hence I got up and walked to the back when I needed service.
                                                      And I've never seen the 'rumoured' Sam. He's never been in the place on any of my visits (twice in 2008 after the re-opening).
                                                      And it would be helpful if they hired someone who spoke fluent English (as we tiptoe around this issue once again so as not to appear racist).

                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                        Perhaps they could address the language issue and the uncomfortable feeling their patrons must have when struggling with it by numbering their menu items. Everybody goes home happy.

                                                        1. re: estufarian

                                                          I have to agree that the customer service side of their business is very weak. As I described in my earlier post, I had a reservation made 3 days in advance. I'd talked up the food and everyone was excited, including relatives commuting in from Ancaster. Then we get canceled at the last minute. Nasty! No apology. No reason given. No alternatives suggested. Just, too bad for you, fool.
                                                          I'd still like to try the food, but I'm just so annoyed with the lack of concern for their customers that I may never find out how good it is. Food without supportive attitude just doesn't taste very good.
                                                          We ended up at Small Rooms on Finch W. between Dufferin and Keele. They stayed open just for us. The food was acceptable, not exceptional, but at least they honoured our last minute reservation. I'd have no hesitation going back to them for another meal.

                                                          1. re: torontovore

                                                            The fact that they called you suggests that they had an emergency. If they were slackers, they wouldn't have attempted to face the music. Do yourself and them a favour and talk to the manager about it.

                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                              That was already done immediately after the message was received. Still no reason given, no apology, and no satisfaction taken. My impression was that we had the only reservation for that evening so they decided it was cheaper to close.

                                                          2. re: estufarian

                                                            It doesn't matter what camp you are in. Their food is cook to a dryness that renders it near inedible.

                                                        2. Much like everyone else, I agree. Sam is a nice guy, the food is good, but the wait staff is HORRIBLE and the language barrier is a major annoyance.

                                                          Was just there a couple weeks ago actually and enjoyed the food as usual, but the wait-staff situation is still the same.

                                                          Too bad they don't read CH

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                            The wait staff issue seems very odd to me, I have never seen anyone except a very nice white waitress, maybe it's because I am always there early. I am planning to go today to pick up lunch for some people at work so I will check it out again and report back later. All in all, my experience has been very good, the lack of sauce is something I was surprised at the first time, remember to order it on the side. Also, the cornbread I found to be really good, its hard to find good cornbread in Toronto! hands down winner so far on the menu are the wings. Large, meaty and incredibly tasty. The place however is rarely busy, which makes me wonder just how long they can hang on. Last, I have seen the owner every time I have been in, seems he is always around to say hello and see how the customers are.

                                                            1. re: perfik

                                                              Went again last night.
                                                              Every server and the person in the kitchen/back area was Asian. And they were 'nice' too (actually very pleasant). Language skills were certainly lacking, but service was pretty good - except couldn't really understand what the daily special was (I think there was one - even that wasn't clear).
                                                              But everything I ordered was delivered promptly and accurately.
                                                              It just seems strange to me that a 'memphis BBQ' place never seems to have any staff that can speak 'Southern'.
                                                              And to any new readers - the point is whether the servers can communicate and serve 'accurately' - not the ethnicity. I am better understood in many places that mainly serve ethnic clientele than I am at Memphis.
                                                              And to perfik - how would I recognize the owner that is 'always there'?

                                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                                I went last night with a friend (I have been there before)
                                                                They have added a new waitress who is not asian and seems to be the one taking the orders therefore gets rid of the lanuage issue.

                                                          2. Since this thread has both Memphis BBQ places in it, I'll post this here. This post is about the Woodbridge location.

                                                            Since RUB was closed for Greek Easter Sunday, I remembered there was another BBQ joint up in Woodbridge and found it: Memphis BBQ. Getting out of the car you could smell the smoke in air though it wasn't as intense as Dinosaur BBQ or Sticky Lips. A good first sign. It's a very small place with eight tables of four. If it's a nice day you could do take out and eat it outside at the park behind the place. There were a few picnic tables.

                                                            If you're looking to have beer (hopefully good beer!) with your BBQ, well you're going to be disappointed as Memphis has no booze. :-( Various pop, juice or water only. Oh, they take cash or debit only, no credit cards. I didn't see any sign outside stating this (a pet peeve of mine!)

                                                            The girlfriend had the six bone ribs which she thought were good, light years better than CG&L and Phil's but lacking compared to Dinosaur. She's in the fall-off-the-bone camp. These ribs required a bit of work but looked to be tendy and juicy still. No complaints about the sauce. Overall she was quite happy with them.

                                                            I had the pulled pork sandwich. That thing is BIG! I like that in a PP sandwich, it should make you gasp when you see it! :-D It's served on a long, crusty toasted bun. The pork was generously sauced all through which I prefer. No coleslaw served on top thank goodness (who thought that was a good idea?!) I liked the flavour of the sauce and the pork. Very tasty. The fries were crispy and good. The gravy okay. The coleslaw was creamy and okay but not to our preference of vinegar based.

                                                            There are wings, a burger, chicken fingers and a chicken breast sandwich also on the menu for non-BBQ eaters and there were plenty of them while we were there.

                                                            Just to give everyone an idea of what our Southern BBQ experience is:

                                                            - Toronto
                                                            - Cluck, Grunt & Low (sucks)
                                                            - Phil's BBQ (good then decent then sucks)
                                                            - Camp 31 (at ribfest, less than optimal conditions but decent)
                                                            - beerbistro (pulled pork sandwich) (my favourite pulled pork sandwich in TO)

                                                            - Midland
                                                            - Mad Michael's (good, worth going there if you're in cottage country already)

                                                            - Rochester (the two best BBQ experiences we've had)
                                                            - Dinosaur BBQ - slight nod to Dino for their long list of micros available on top and bottles
                                                            - Sticky Lips

                                                            We've never been to the Southern US yet. We may at some point but it's not high on our travel list.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: lister

                                                              A fair assessment.. I find the place inconsistent though.. I've had it be good a couple times, but dry and stale many times also. The fries they serve are terrible frozen battered kind, and the other sides aren't much better :(

                                                              The pulled pork I found to be VERY dry, I don't think they sell alot of it, so I think the same batch sits around for days until they finally sell out of it... The best day to go to this location is on a Monday, where they have their "Monday Madness" deal, its a great bargain. Full rack of ribs, a pound of wings of your choice (Get the smoked variety!), and a large side, all for $25 tax included.

                                                              Definitely give RUB another shot though, when you can. I prefer it over Memphis from my experiences for sure.

                                                              Cheers

                                                              1. re: lister

                                                                "No coleslaw served on top thank goodness (who thought that was a good idea?!)" I think it's a good idea. I put slaw on mine when I make them. It's just better IMHO. The pork and sauce needs a little acidic something or other. It adds to the taste, not detracts.

                                                                But you are more than welcome to eat it as you choose.

                                                                DT

                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                  We agree to disagree. :-) Whatever makes you happy, that's what is important.

                                                                  I like the BBQ sauce to stand on it's own. If it can't do that then I won't eat at the establishment again. I also don't like the texture difference between the coleslaw and the PP.

                                                                  Oh, three other PP sandwiches that I've had in Toronto, one being at the Black Camel which is decent but not smoked (as has been readily documented here), C'est What which I think also falls into the not-smoked category and the meat is served dry with a thin sauce to pour over. Check C'est What's menu on their web site for a better description. I was disappointed. The third one is at Victory Cafe. Not sure about smoking but it's completely sauced and the sauce is tasty. Coleslaw does come on top but they will put it on the side upon request. I've had it there both ways. That'll be my default dish at Victory unless a special intrigues me.

                                                                2. re: lister

                                                                  Since you are disscusing places out of town, a new one has opened in Belleville .
                                                                  Owner Alex has a good knowledge of smoking. Had the brisket and it was nice and tender and just the right amount of smoke. Great beans and sweetpotatoe fries. Reasonable price. Definatley worth a try. Only a few minutes from 401, hwy 62 s. He also has his own sauces that are very good.
                                                                  www.smokehouseblues.ca

                                                                  1. re: fatman0000

                                                                    Thanks FM,

                                                                    I get out that way and it's good to know that it isn't a BBQ desert east of Buster Rhino's...

                                                                3. In my eternal search for decent ribs in this fine city, I hit up Memphis Style Smokehouse last Saturday night for take out. I live only 5 mins away, so I figured the takeout would be just as good or close enough.

                                                                  I have to say this was one of the worst meals I've had in a very long time. I honestly can't believe that people would pay that much for fatty, meatless ribs. I ordered the Miles Davis Platter and a supplementary order of ribs (which I wish I hadn't).

                                                                  Ribs had almost no meat on them at all and tons of fat. Ice cold and hard as a rock; and speaking of rocks, I actually bit on a rock in my ribs!!! I'm not kidding - I almost broke my tooth. I would say you have one or two tiny bites per rib max and the taste is nothing special. Tried both the dry and wet - could't barely tell the difference.

                                                                  Also had the chicken, brisket, pulled pork and ends as part of this combo. All were pretty much terrible. Even the quarter chicken had almost no meat on it - how is this possible? The BBQ sauce was the only saviour of this meal. It was quite good.

                                                                  The sides were not much better - coleslaw was watery as hell, fries were generic frozen McCain style with lots of season salt (which helped). I will say that the cornbread and baked beans were noteworthy.

                                                                  Maybe it's much better when you eat in, but for 70.00, I can't imagine ever going back for such poor quality food.

                                                                  I'll be trying Stockyards next...

                                                                  PS - I wish Dipamo's never closed, because it was as close as we got to authentic in this city (Toronto that is).

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kosherdill

                                                                    I've been a regular critic - but occasionally find myself at Yonge/Sheppard, so try 'one more time' - more in hope than success. Last night I tried again - we were the only table occupied!
                                                                    The good news: Service was VASTLY improved - even English was spoken. Also the pulled pork was pretty good this time - not too fatty and tender with a little 'bite'.
                                                                    But the ribs were just awful - not too much fat, just completely dried out. The consistency of leather - then I abandoned the effort.
                                                                    Fries and beans were OK. Coleslaw was wet but not too watery; cornbread was tasteless and dry. And I have a mild MSG reaction - probably in the rib rub, or the seasoned fries.
                                                                    Overall, don't expect it to be still open next time I'm in the area.

                                                                    Good luck with Stockyards. I hear rumours they have BBQ - but it's never been available when I've been there. Deep-fried chicken and burges are the staples, although their sandwiches are better (qualitatively - but still too expensive compared with the neighbourhood).

                                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                                      Get thee to Harlem and never complain about cornbread again.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Harlem
                                                                      67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                        Agreed. Best corn bread in the city.

                                                                        DT

                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I live just down the street from this place. Went in once to try the ribs, Boston Pizza and the Keg which are both across street to do way better ribs then this place.

                                                                  2. I was shocked to see Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge/Vaughn rated #27 Best Restaurant in TO on Urbanspoon ! 83% with 318 votes is a very strong endorsement. Seems those CHers I respect don't like it and I'm always worried to read a specialty restaurant is using hired cooks, but I guess it's something that needs to be sampled.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Memphis BBQ
                                                                    8074 Islington Ave, Woodbridge, ON L4L1W5, CA

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                      Those people don't know real Q IMHO if it got a rating like that.

                                                                      1. re: ebay3392

                                                                        I personally liked memphis bbq in woodbridge the 3 or 4 times i've had food from them.... they're still one of the better ones in the GTA
                                                                        so far camp31 (paris location.. not ribfests) is the best i've had in ontario

                                                                        1. re: plug

                                                                          Tried the Yonge&Shepp location twice, since it's a short walk from home, and I will never go back.
                                                                          Plug, you and the Urbanspoon folks need to get your butts out to Buster Rhino's on a Friday at lunch or Thurs/Fri for an early dinner of THE BEST real-deal dry-rubbed BBQ ribs in Ontario (frankly they are better than any I've had in MO. KS, TX, GA, NC, SC, TN and KY, too!) Really outstanding.

                                                                          Go on the days I've mentioned and they are not only fresh from the smoker, but a full rack comes with truly outstanding fresh-cut fries (ask for lightly salted, trust me) and a can of pop for only $14 and change! They have 3 great BBQ sauces, but you'll hardly want them, and skip the other sides - they range from pedestrian to poor.

                                                                          You'll enjoy these smoky dry-rubbed ribs so much that you won't even notice that the place was modeled after your high-school cafeteria.
                                                                          Trust me, go!
                                                                          .James.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Buster Rhino's
                                                                          2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                                                                          1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                            Thanks TorontoTips... but the yonge and shepp location is memphis style smokehouse and is not affiliated with the aforementioned Memphis BBQ in woodbridge.. you should give it a try?
                                                                            I've been to busters twice and the ribs were very good... wasn't a fan of how the pulled pork and brisket come from a plastic pouch tho.
                                                                            I still enjoyed camp31 as the #1 place in ontario.. IMO at least.
                                                                            i'd like to know your opinion on camp31, please! i haven't been down to the south so you would have a better idea of what is great Q

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Memphis BBQ
                                                                            8074 Islington Ave, Woodbridge, ON L4L1W5, CA

                                                                            1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                              sorry for another post.. just wanted to clarify that I liked the Memphis bbq in woodbridge and have never been to the yonge and shepp (memphis style smokehouse)

                                                                              1. re: plug

                                                                                Oops, I missed the discussion switch to Memphis BBQ, since the OP was talking about, and the thread is entitled, Memphis (Style) Smoke House, which is the place that I disliked on two visits. :-)

                                                                                I've never been overly impressed with any of the Ribfest teams, including Camp31, but I haven't made it out all the way to Paris ON. yet, but now I will.

                                                                                I'm an avid road-tripper and former restauranteur who has made numerous driving trips to Florida, Vegas, Cali, Maine, NYC, Chicago, Texas, etc. and we always specifically plan routes to allow for roadfood stops at notable spots along the way for great BBQ, burgers, wings, pizza, seafood, regional specialties, etc. (Sounds crazy, I know, but I'll eventually leverage all this research when I open my own place here in T.O. :-) )

                                                                                What I look for in great ribs is a great balanced rub, a great sweet-savoury bark, porky flavour and texture of the meat - naturally moist without being too fatty (or water-logged, as it typical for most ribs in Canada) plus good smoke flavour without being too acrid. Throw in a great sauce (as fry dip, not on my ribs, thank you) and I'm a happy dude.

                                                                                Note that all the best places I've tried have some inconsistency, so I always split and share racks with my dining partners, and the best of Buster Rhino's is truly as good as I've had anywhere, and the worst I've had there are still better than most. I tend to stick to the ribs myself, because even though they are still better than what is served at other spots in GTA, the pouches just don't cut it for me, either. Same reason I mention Thurs evening and all-day Friday as the times I go for ribs, as the ribs are coming right out of the smoker, then.

                                                                                I will definitely check out Camp31 and share my thoughts - thanks for the recommendation!
                                                                                Cheers,
                                                                                .James.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Buster Rhino's
                                                                                2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                                                                      2. An old thread, I know, but it was the most recent one I could find on this.

                                                                        Went to Memphis Style Smoke House for dinner tonight. Yes, the one on the west side of
                                                                        Yonge north of Sheppard, not the place in Woodbridge. I know I use the word a lot but this
                                                                        place clearly deserves the title of POSEUR. To call them "Incompetent" would be a
                                                                        compliment. Here goes.

                                                                        Décor was OK. The only negative we saw was, no BBQ sauce bottles on the tables. BBQ
                                                                        places ALWAYS have the bottles on the tables.

                                                                        Most of the wait staff do not speak English. Tried to ask about a menu item (we TRIED to inquire about the 3 sauces), guy couldn't answer. Started on some explanation of "it's the city it came from"... what? Ordered soft drinks, which never came, instead Mr. Engrish-as-a-2nd-Language promptly brought us ice water with lemon wedges. The table next to us also had water, and were served their beer as they were almost finished their meals! We never got the drinks we ordered, ever. Didn't show up on the bill either so at least Mr. ESL got that right.

                                                                        The coleslaw was awful. It was totally inedible. Basically a tiny ball of shredded cabbage
                                                                        seasoned with vinegar. Ugh.

                                                                        The pulled pork was NOT smoked. I didn't see any signs of smoke (no smoke ring, no bark),
                                                                        it was just a tasteless, uniform pinkish-grey pile of mush. If not for the sauce (which wasn't
                                                                        very good either), it would have no flavour at all.

                                                                        The ribs were OK, they were actually smoked.. However, Mr. ESL asked us if we wanted
                                                                        our ribs wet or dry. We ordered wet. We got dry. And a tiny ramekin of sauce that was not enough for the ribs.

                                                                        Beans weren't very good either. Tasted like they went from can to ramekin to microwave to
                                                                        customer.

                                                                        Fries were the only strong suit. Hard to screw those up, they were quite good. Lightly salted,
                                                                        crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. The fries should not be the highlight of the
                                                                        meal but at this place, they were.

                                                                        And here's the best part -- as we were getting up to leave, the only English speaking waiter came over to ask us how was our meal was. Well, my wife is from the South and she told him it sucked and why. He apologized and had the nerve to say "I've never heard any complaints before"... so he's in denial about how bad the food is, or he's never read Chowhound or Yelp.... wow. If a customer complains you apologize and that's it. You don't brush it off like he did.

                                                                        Long story short, any national BBQ chain in the U.S. (Smokey Bones, Famous Dave's, etc)
                                                                        whups these guys. Memphis Style's food sucks, and their service sucks. I've used this line
                                                                        before and I'll use it again -- next time the anti-chain snobs (and you know who you are)
                                                                        wonder why chains do well, this is a great example of it. You can't deny the fact that
                                                                        sometimes the chains beat the local independents... local doesn't always mean better. No
                                                                        BBQ chain in the U.S. would have such incompetent waitstaff serve such dreck. Epic fail.

                                                                        I'm starting to wonder, is this place still run by the original owner (whose story is all over their website and the menus), or was it sold to Bourbon St. Grill?

                                                                        What a waste of time and money. Maybe Darryl should open a Buster Rhino's location across the street from these guys and put them out of their misery. Or Famous Dave's should announce expansion plans to Canada.

                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                          "Or he's never read Chowhound or Yelp"

                                                                          Apparently you haven't either ;-)

                                                                          This place gets trashed repeatedly. Why would you put yourself through that??

                                                                          DT

                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            Honestly, we were in the area and it was late, we heard about the place and thought, what the hell, felt like BBQ but weren't going to drive north to Woodbridge or east to Buster's.

                                                                            At least I got a rock-solid "avoid" post out of it :-) And I love to trash inferior local places and the chain-haters and this gave me a chance to do it!

                                                                            Do you know if the original owner still runs this place or if it's been taken over....

                                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                                              The only things I know about the place are the name, location and to avoid it at all costs.

                                                                              DT

                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                And I just verified that for you :-)

                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                  Last time we stopped in here, we had a very similar experience. It was much worse than the first time I tried it, which wasn't very good in the first place lol The service was horrendous though.. it took them forever just to take our drink orders, and it was very hard to communicate with them.. We felt a bit like we were inconveniencing them, which I really don't like. They also seemed to be understaffed, because it took them forever to clear plates and dishes on all of the tables. Wouldn't go again.

                                                                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                    They weren't understaffed last night They had 3 waiters (1 English-speaking, 2 "Engrish"-speaking) and maybe 75% full if that.

                                                                                    At least you got your drink orders, ours never came (but we weren't charged for it either).

                                                                                    Bad food, bad service, just bad. We need Famous Dave's to expand here to kill off some poseurs like this.

                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                      Anyone know if this place is still kicking?
                                                                                      A year ago (I think) I bumped into Sam on the street and he said he wasn't working there anymore, he had a falling out with the owners.
                                                                                      Apparently they hired a Korean cousin (or something) to help Sam in the kitchen and the guy started bossing him around and wanting to change the menu.
                                                                                      So Sam walked.

                                                                                      You take the one good thing about the place and screw with him?
                                                                                      Dear lord....

                                                                                      1. re: Beauvoir

                                                                                        One more thing....the last time I was there with three friends we had an extremely disturbing experience.
                                                                                        We were seated in one of the booths at the back near the bar which was fine.
                                                                                        However the large screen TV behind the bar wasn't showing any sports or anything like that. It also wasn't showing say, a concert DVD by a blues musician which would have been nice.

                                                                                        It was showing a pledge show asking for donations to give plastic surgery to children who have lost parts of their faces due to landmines!
                                                                                        I'm not kidding!

                                                                                        Staff were walking by, completely oblivious to the horror on the screen behind them.

                                                                                        Now I feel bad for the kids, but its definetly not the kind of thing I want to see while eating. Its not fun digging into a pulled pork sandwich then looking up at a seven year old whose face looks like it!
                                                                                        It was astounding that not one staff member was aware of the dining experience they were presenting to their customers.

                                                                                        Really bad!

                                                                                        1. re: Beauvoir

                                                                                          If the most recent Yelp reviews are any indication, they won't last:

                                                                                          http://www.yelp.ca/biz/memphis-style-...

                                                                                          With "independents" like this, I'd rather support American chains.

                                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                            I'd be happy to see Smokey Bones and Sammy's Real Pit come over the border. Am dying to try Barque, I like Stockyards, Phil's is meh, Highway 61 is not good.

                                                                                            1. re: MeMeMe

                                                                                              I'm not too impressed with Smokey Bones, of the chains I think Famous Dave's does a better job. But even SB beats these poseurs.

                                                                                              Have you been to Camp 31 (Paris) or Kentucky Greg's (Buffalo)? Those are authentic and what I use as the gold standards by which to compare all others in the GTA.

                                                                                              1. re: MeMeMe

                                                                                                Do you mean Sonny's in Florida?

                                                                                              2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                Anyone know if this place is still operating?

                                                                                                1. re: Beauvoir

                                                                                                  Assuming Yelp and Urbanspoon (which are usually quick at updating this) are right, yes, unfortunately this place is still in business.

                                                                                                  Has Buster Rhino opened in town yet? I hope Darryl opens across the street from these jokers and literally smokes them out of business.

                                                                                                  1. re: Beauvoir

                                                                                                    I made my (semi?)annual pilgrimage to Camp 31 last weekend... once again was impressed, not disappointed.... and again made me beg the question, if they can do it out here why can't anybody do this in the GTA?

                                                                                                    I always wondered if Camp 31 won't expand in order to not cannibalize the Rotary Ripoff Ribfests.... the more decent BBQ places open in the GTA, the less relevant the Ripfests become....

                                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                      i've been to camp31 4 times in the last 6 months....i'm guessing the owners probably live in Paris and rent/lease costs are much lower for them as well.
                                                                                                      and agreed.... they're quite good .my only complaint would be their brisket ....but i'm more than happy with their ribs/wings and southern fried chicken

                                                                              2. Sure wish I had consulted Chowhound first!

                                                                                Was at Yonge and Sheppard to pick up a pair of eye glasses today. It was lunch time and I had a 15 minute wait.
                                                                                So I thought a quick sandwich would be a good idea. I spotted Memphis Smokehouse across the street and thought what the hell why not.

                                                                                I ordered the smoked brisket sandwich off the absolutely filthy sticky menu and went to wash my hands!

                                                                                There was not a hint of smoke in the stringy, cold, tasteless meat. The BBQ sauce had no character either.

                                                                                There is nothing to reccomend about this filthy little place except to avoid like the plague!