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New Southern Food downtown Toronto: Smokin' Bones?

  • y

I saw this mentioned on Blogto.com . I did a search here and saw a listing under the restaurant section but no info and no threads on it (or so it appears)


Anyone have info like expected opening date? Is it sit down or counter service? Any details?

I find myself down in the YD Square area for different events so it would be nice to have more food options in the area!

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  1. I certainly hope it ends up being authentic food. Toronto is woefully ill-equipped for anyone with a craving for southern or cajun restaurants, the only mainstays being the mediocre Southern Accent and the strangely overpriced Joe Mama's.

    There's N'awlins, too, but I've never been, so I can't comment on either its food or prices.

    2 Replies
      1. re: TexSquared

        Yikes, thanks for the heads-up.

    1. From the "Join Us" portion of the site - http://www.smokinbones.ca/join_us.php

      "The goal of the proprietors of Smokin' Bones is to become the premier take-out and delivery restaurant of Southern comfort food in the GTA. The principals in the business have over 15 years of combined experience in all aspects of the industry and will provide a safe, clean and well-organized workplace for their employees"

      Looks to me like a franchise business concept.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pantz

        Fifteen years in all aspects of the industry doesn't sound like 15 years learning how to cook southern food down south which is what I'd rather read.

        1. re: GoodGravy

          Good point. Nowhere do they give valid credentials to qualify them to serve authentic Southern food. "15 years of combined experience..." could mean 15 years serving junk Chinese food and calling it Cajun....

          I look forward to the first reviews of this place on this board, and I expect they won't be pretty....

      2. Smoking Bones open tomorrow at 10:30am and i am really excited about the prospect so will see

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kedeisha8

          Some details from the email announcing the opening (I'm hungry just reading the menu list):

          "Thank you for your interest in our new restaurant and for your patience while we finished our renovations! We invite you to come in and try our fabulous Southern cuisine featuring pulled pork, pulled chicken, southern fried chicken, baby back ribs, beef ribs, cornbread, mac ‘n cheese, baked beans, soups….and much more. And please note that everything is HOMEMADE FROM SCRATCH."

          "We open tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 14 at 10:30am and hope to see you soon!"

          1. re: Gary

            Yeah, got the same e-mail. I will try to check it out next time I am in that area.

          2. First of all, as was touched on above, 15 years of restaurant experience means nothing when it comes to BBQ. 15 years of BBQ experience is really just getting you started. So I'm not that optimistic.

            Secondly, as soon as I saw Y&D as it's area I was suspect. Seems to be a trendy type area and even though it's not exactly there, it still is.

            Thirdly, as for realy deal southern food coming to TO I think it would be a hard sell. I just blogged about a place that does the real deal just south of Nashville. One of the comments I made was that the sides (Peas, beans, greens) were "Cooked to death" which is the way they should be. Mrs. Sippi's corn on the cobb droops whey you hold it at one end. It's how it's done and it's great. I see a lot of people complaining of "Over cooked" veg and stuff.
            Also, let's face it, southern food aint health food and we all saw the problems Krispy Kreme had.

            So I just DIY at home.

            You can read my blog entry on some real deal southern if you like.



            1. well here i go......
              i love bbq and living in south usa for years i was spollied with killer bbq.
              searching for a bbq joint in TO can be a task , untill years ago i found "cluck grunt n low."
              since it's closing last year i've been jonesing for some bbq.
              tried smokin bones today.
              with a little tweeking this place could be amazing.
              the corn chowder was under salted. but hearty and has potential.
              the beef rib was a wee bit dry for me. again , a little tweeking and they will be spot on.
              pork ribs had that smokey flav that i love , but they dident blow my sock off.
              thier bbq side sauce was good.
              corn bread was , well....corn bread . nothing super special , but nice.
              mac n chees was bland , runny , under seasoned and only had 5or6 pieces with crusty cheese on top. for me, a good mac n cheeese has a nice crust on top.
              pork n beans....o how i loves me pork n beans. the beans were hard , but the smokey-burbon flavor and pork are on the right track.
              i like that everything(except mayo) is home made.
              all meat is local. (i'll support that ).
              take out only.....?
              there's room for a few tables in there for sure.
              by time i got home things were starting to cool down.
              i'm going back because i don't judge a place on a few dishes.
              i want to try the sandwiches.(this will prolly make or break it for me).
              fried chicken is a big southern staple for me . did not have it today , but next time for sure.
              i'm not going to rate this place untill i've tried everything.
              i would also like to see catfish on the menu.
              i'd say : "giver a go" . make suggestons , give feed back , because we need a good bbq joint in town and i think a great restraunt catters to it's crowd and listens to suggestions or else they close.

              on a side note the owner and staff were friendly and looked eager to get things going.
              if this place dosen't get going, i'm moving back down south, stealing all my mum's resp. (and thier smoker) and opening a joint myself.LOL!

              i'm going to take some of my friends there this week. they are bbq snob's but have an open minds.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pork n beans

                So how does it compare to Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge, Memphis Style Smokehouse in (the former) North York, Camp 31 in Paris, or Buster Rhino in Whitby? I know there are others but those are the BBQ places that get mentioned the most here.

                As far as "within a couple hour's drive" goes, Kentucky Greg's in Buffalo wins hands down but be nice to find someplace on this side of the line....

                1. re: TexSquared

                  busters is awsome.
                  memphis is not bad.
                  camp 31...? never had it. what's your take?
                  smokin , like i said has potential . i really want a place to set standards in TO for serious BBQ. (yeah i'm an optomist.)

                  i'm heading south for the holidays , leaving out of buffalo so i will leave early and go to Kentucky Greg's , but until then........

                  i know i'm going to be spolied rotten with bbq while down south , so i'll keep an open mind when i come back.

                  Tex. did you ever get to try "cluck grunt n low" (when they were around)?
                  that was the best bbq and most "authentic" i've every had this side of the border.IMO.
                  personaly i compare SS BBQ to that(in TO anyways).
                  i still have thier menu and a few house resp. to boot (not bragging LOL).

                  i'm going to get some of my mums resp. and i'll post them here for all the bbq lovers.

              2. Anyone know the hours of this place? Thinking of heading over for lunch as I work a few blocks away, but the website still has the "coming soon" splash page with little info.

                5 Replies
                1. re: gregclow

                  I think if I remember correctly they open at 10:30 - didn't see a closing time.

                  1. re: BusterRhino

                    I headed over and got there around 11:45. Small line-up. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and a side of baked beans.

                    Back at the office, I pulled out the sandwich, and discovered that I was given a pulled chicken instead (or so I'm guessing based on the colour and consistency of the meat). It's OK, and the sauce is quite good, nice and smoky. But I wanted pork. :(

                    The beans, however, are outstanding. Delicious sauce, both sweet and savoury, nice chunks of pork in there, and unlike the ones that 'pork n beans' got above, the beans in this batch are cooked perfectly - not to hard, not too soft.

                    I'll definitely go back, I'll just have to double check my order before leaving next time.

                    Oh, and closing time according to the take-out menu is "9pm (or until we run out)".

                    1. re: gregclow

                      I am going to give them a week or so to get the new operation kinks out, tough to judge a spot when they have been only open for 2 days. Everybody makes mistakes.

                      Oh by the way, did it taste like chicken?

                      1. re: BusterRhino

                        Yeah, I'm definitely not going to hold it against them. I would've waited a bit longer myself, but I had to head over in that direction today anyway, so I figured I'd give 'em a shot.

                        And yes, it tasted like chicken. :) I'm just not a huge fan of pulled chicken - I always find the consistency a bit mushy for my liking. But at least it tasted good.

                        1. re: gregclow

                          Ha, I am not a huge fan of pulled chicken either - it's not like it's a true southern delicacy. It's usually on inserted onto the menu for people who really don't want pork or beef but want something bbq'd.

                2. I just came back and I'm giving this a big thumbs down. Given the neighborhood and takeout only situation I didn't have high expectations but hoped for at least a decent yet closer alternative to Stockyards. Very sparse interior for a newly renovated place. I ordered fried chicken and onion rings. I was told I would have to wait for them to make the onion rings fresh. Positive sign you'd think but then that uncomfortable feeling starts when she plucked two pieces of chicken from a small metal bin from the steam table. All the food seemed to be held at the steam table. While waiting for the onion rings I noticed this white glop next to the bin of biscuits. I asked the girl what it was and she said that it was sausage gravy for the biscuits and offered me a sample. It was runny and completely bland, even the sausage only tasted of ground pork and nothing else. I told her it needed more seasoning and she replied that some people don't like it spicy! Unfortunately this blandness extends to the fried chicken. As I suspected when I got home, the chicken was luke warm and the batter was "limp". I'm guessing it was supposed to be buttermilk fried chicken since the coating looked the same last time I tried it at home. There was zero taste in the batter beyond the taste of fried flour. I saw black specks which I presume was pepper but didn't taste anything. The onion rings were all broken and grease soaked the bottom of the box. The batter was light and crispy, almost tempura like. At least they bothered to salt them. The fried chicken came with a burnt biscuit that was half the thickness of a hockey puck.

                  $7 for 2 pieces of luke warm bland dark meat and $3 for broken greasy onion rings.
                  Unfortunately I've had much better at Popeyes and nowhere near the experience of other bbq places in town. This has fail all over it.

                  Smokin' Bones
                  117 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B, CA

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: sbug206

                    As a long time biscuits and gravy maker I can tell you first off the biggest failing of all gravies is not enough salt and pepper. Since the predominant flavour is milk, you need to season it up a fair bit. Milk is pretty bland. Even with the sausage in there it needs a lot of help.

                    To suggest that seasoning = spicy is just plain naive.


                    1. re: sbug206

                      Thanks for saving me a trip from Durham Region. Not that I was susprised this place would be a dud.

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        well to be fair, he didn't actually try any BBQ

                        i would definitely not have ordered fried chicken, i'd want to know if the ribs and pulled pork are smokey or bland

                        1. re: duckdown

                          But to screw up biscuits and gravy, the easiest part of the meal?

                          Looks like this group's "15 years in the industry" may have consisted of 15 minutes reading recipes online and trying to figure out how to make them cheap.
                          They don't have a clue. They might have served a better meal if they ordered the gravy in powder form from Sysco and actually followed the instructions....

                          Further up, someone ordered pulled pork and got pulled chicken instead. Wow. Imagine if someone who avoids eating pork for whatever reason, ordered the chicken and got the pork instead. If they can't even do that right they deserve to fail.

                          Once again, thanks for saving me time, fuel, and parking that I would have wasted going. Buster Rhino is a couple exits down from me and I should visit them soon. BR has nothing to worry about -- actually, if/when this place fails maybe BR can move into that space and show downtown how it's done :-)

                          1. re: TexSquared

                            Have you even been there? Funny how the positive reviews are ignored and people were damning the place before it even opened. I think there's some things that are doomed to fail beacuse people don't want them to succeed. The refrain of "Toronto doesn't have good BBQ, Mexican, Japanese, etc..." become self-fulfilling prophecies.

                            1. re: jamesm

                              There is Japanese in the city so I don't know where that argument comes from, but you cannot deny the lack of good Mexican and good BBQ. Not really that hard to believe the place isn't very good. It's probably expected, even..

                              I want someone to actually try the ribs.

                              1. re: duckdown

                                El Trompo
                                Tacos El Pastor
                                La Mexicanada
                                La Cabana

                                Souther RUB
                                Buster Rhino
                                Memphis Smokehouse
                                Lykn Chicken

                                1. re: jamesm

                                  BR's is the only place I personally love in TO for BBQ.

                                  I have not tried Lykn Chicken, but all the others and they do not come anywhere near the standard of what I would call Southern BBQ.

                                  Lets be honest with ourselves for one second, the majority of the population of Toronto has no real idea of what constitutes REAL Southern cooking or BBQ (BBQ is only a small part of what makes up Southern Cuisne, alot of Southern Restaurants do not even serve BBQ) I was the same, I didn't really know how serious BBQ was until I left and moved to Florida and spent time travelling around the Southeast.

                                  It isn't until then you really appreciate how serious BBQ is to the people down there, its not some game or new trend, its a part of the culture, and bad places that do not respect the culture are weeded out and put out of business like they should. Now which of those places above not named Buster Rhino's could actually survive down south?

                                  With that being said it is wrong to jump to conclusions when it comes to Smokin Bones, they deserve a chance like every other restaurant that opens and makes a real effort at putting out a quality product. If I was biased towards every new BBQ Joint based on my past horrible experiences, I would have never discovered BR's, and I am glad I did.

                            2. re: TexSquared

                              I could even understand that after 1 visit the food was so bad that you would never return. But to write off a place that just opened as another failure when you haven't even visited just isn't right, especially in its early days. I'm not defending bad food, I am just saying a code of ethics should be followed when blasting a brand new restaurant. It would be a sad situation if this was how all Torontonians treated new people that just invested in the city. Lets just be patient and hope they get their act together to bring us some good BBQ. Although if I lived a few exits away from Busters, I might also be waiting for positive reviews before I made the trek.

                      2. OK, kids...
                        Anyone been?
                        I'd love me some real BBQ, fried chicken and suth'n sides :-)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: TorontoTips

                          They managed to close down from the 25th to the 28th. I can see the 25th and 26th but closing down for 4 days when you have just opened cannot help build a business. I have only been in there once, but the pulled pork sandwich was quite good.

                          1. re: mramage

                            Yeah we were hoping to try Smokin' Bones on the 28th since we were going to watch a movie at AMC. No suck luck. :-( I'm not sure when a next visit will be attempted...

                            1. re: lister

                              Also note they are closed on Sundays.

                          2. re: TorontoTips

                            I went on the 31st and had the pulled pork (with the 'spicy' sauce) and the beans. Both were fantastic. I'd definitely go again.

                          3. My husband surprised me with a pair of pulled pork sandwiches last night, and after a quick run to the corner store for chips and orange soda, we had a rather fine meal. It's not the best bbq I've ever had, but it's the best I've had so far in Toronto. When he ordered, he didn't specify a sauce level, so I think we just got "moist", and extra sauce would have made it even better. On top of quality, the prices are very reasonable as well. An entire half pound of pulled pork on a bun for $6? You can't go wrong with that.

                            He reports that there are several small tables in the store, and we'll be going back soon for a sit-down meal.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: precia

                              I checked it out a couple of days ago. The pulled pork sandwich was pretty tasty. The cornbread was so-so, but at least it was homemade. It was a bit bland though and could've benefitted by being served warm somehow.

                              Although I don't think I'd get the cornbread again I would go back for the pulled pork. Would agree that while not the best pulled pork I've had it was certainly good enough.

                              The owner seemed nice and the place smelled of smoke, so that was nice.

                              1. re: magic

                                Did a take out order last night and wanted to share my review...

                                Pulled Pork Sandwich on a bun soaked with spicy sauce (can order it wet or soaked) and coleslaw - it was the best pulled pork we have had in Toronto - better than Phil's, The Stockyards or Buster Rhino's and as good as Cluck's used to be... smokey, moist and juicy, good texture and meat is shredded nicely the way pulled pork should be. The bun was just a bun - your choice of white or whole wheat, but nobody but Cluck ever had it on a beautiful fluffy fresh pain au lait... defniitely not in the south! Will definitely be back for more.

                                The ribs - MUST be ordered without sauce and taken home and reheated. They came covered in their house original sauce which is bland and pasty... but underneath that ghastly sauce the ribs were juicy, tender, with a hint of smoke - less smokey than Buster Rhino's and Stockyards, but more meaty and juicy which for Baby Back ribs is not an easy thing to do. For some reason it seemed like they just took the rack of ribs that was smoked earlier in the day and covered it in sauce - no extra grilling or anything to reheat them... but being a take out order that was easily fixed - just a minute in the microwave brought them back to life. At $18 for a full rack it was a good deal - but we will make sure to order them without sauce in the future and use their spicy sauce or one of our fave BBQ sauces on them.

                                The beef brisket on a bun was smokey and thinly sliced but a little on the lean and dry side... will give it another chance ordering it smothered instead of just wet with spicy sauce.

                                The fried chicken needs work - too thickly breaded in buttermilk and flour that does not stay crispy. Not as horrendous as a previous poster said, but certainly not as good as The Stockyard's - but then again, I don't consider the Stockyards to have the best fried chicken - for that you have to go to Hattie's in Saratoga Springs NY - they beat Bobby Flat in a Throwdown and they have the best fried chicken north of the Mason Dixie, but I digress...

                                As for sides - the coleslaw is in a slightly sweet vinegar and mayo dressing which at first, looked like your usual mayo coleslaw but was actually surprisingly tasty.

                                The beans were good but were a little soupy - needed to simmer longer maybe? They were still tasty but this is the one item I think Phil's does the best... we have had beans at the Stockyards, Buster Rhino's as well and Phil's is still our personal favourite of the Toronto (and area) options.

                                The onion rings were a bit oily, but not as oily as the Stockyards and not as spicy - and while the batter is light, it is crispy and not as heavy as some and definitely made to order... we prefer this style to the panko breaded style so they were a hit.

                                The sweet potato fries were amazing - even though they were cold once they got home they were crispy and had just the right amount of salt... have had a lot of sweet potato fries lately and these were the best I have had - as addictive as potato chips!

                                They did not have any biscuits and gravy so they subbed in cornbread but that is not one of my favourite dishes anyway. Cornbread was a bit soggy and plain but was great dipped in the soupy beans!

                                It was obvious that the place is still getting the kinks ironed out - there is just one guy out front, the owner I think, and one guy in the kitchen... they were a bit frantic but I think that will change over time and the owner was very helpful and friendly.

                                For now they are cash only - they have a cash machine inside thankfully, but just a heads up for those of you, like me, who buy almost everything on credit cards.

                                My overall take is that this place is great for anyone living in the area who does not want to make the trek to the Stockyards, never mind Buster Rhinos, and wants some decent BBQ at a great price. I do not expect this, or any other place in Toronto to make authentic southern BBQ - mainly because it is just as much about the people, the relaxed attitude, and the surroundings as it is about the food down there... they don't have the diversity of cuisine we have, and we will never have great BBQ joints like they do...

                                I would rather focus on what the place has to offer and if I enjoy it or not, and I did enjoy Smokin' Bones and living as close as we do, we will definitely be back soon. Hopefully given time and experience the place will get better but in the meantime go get a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on it and soaked in the spicy sauce...
                                now THAT'S good eating!

                                Ciao Chowhounders!

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

                                The Stockyards
                                699 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

                                Smokin' Bones
                                117 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B, CA

                                1. re: LovelyAsia

                                  great write up, thanks for the tip. sounds like the pulled pork is the real winner then yep. i wish there was some quick parking nearby :(

                                  1. re: LovelyAsia

                                    We went back for a second round last night, and I was able to try the fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese and garlic mashed potatoes.

                                    I've discovered the big problem with the fried chicken - everyone keeps bringing it home. Of course the batter goes limp and weird, steaming in a takeout container. We ate in, at the narrow bar surrounding the space. (I noticed their front is actually a garage door, and if they open that in the summer, it'll be heavenly.) Order the fried chicken, wait the 5 minutes for it and chow down. The batter is very thick, but fresh from the kitchen, it's light as a cloud and delightful. The chicken stays moist, but not even a bit greasy, and man, it was good. It doesn't have the kick of KFC, by any means, but it was much higher quality.

                                    The biscuits were flat, but flaky. The gravy was, admittedly, a little bit bland, but they do have salt and pepper packets you can spice it up with. They just need to take a little extra step and they'll be there. The chicken batter could probably benefit from a tiny bit more seasoning as well, come to think of it.

                                    While the garlic mashed was certainly garlicky (roasted garlic, I'd wager), it was on the dry side. If you get those as takeout (what a weird side for bbq, though) an extra knob of butter thrown in will take care of it.

                                    I did enjoy the mac and cheese. It's subtle, not macaronis in a gooey cheese sauce like Stouffers, but more like you'd make at home when you couldn't afford a huge brick of cheese. The noodles aren't coated in cheese, but they're not dry either. Imagine a thin Mornay sauce for tossing the noddles, and then some straight up cheese and bread crumbs for the topping. Mixed in is a small amount of red pepper flakes, for interest.

                                    The pulled pork is still the best of everything, though. Menu options are great, but that's what we'll be back for, again and again.

                                    1. re: precia

                                      If it's white (county, sawmill, milk, whatever) gravy it generally needs quite a bit of salt.


                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        Absolutely. I imagine they're trying to err on the side of caution, and will hopefully strike a balance soon. And if they don't, at least gravy responds well to seasonings after the fact.

                                        I love a good white gravy. Sometimes we just make biscuits and gravy for dinner, with big chunks of sausage on the side. Of course, then I have to cook with beans and tofu for the rest of the week to make up for it. :p

                              2. I went with a friend on Monday night. The place was empty and 3 people came in for take out. Everyday they have a special which works out to be $1 cheaper than regular price.

                                We ordered the pulled chicken sandwich with spicy sauce. You get a choice of white or whole wheat bun. I didn't try it but my friend said it was good but only OK as he wouldn't order it again.

                                He tasted my combo (pulled pork w/ spicy sauce and beef rib) and deemed the pork much better as the chicken was dry. I found the pork really moist and smokey. It's shredded and the meat is tender. The spicy sauce is not spicy hot (at all). It's not sweet or overwhelming which I like but I didn't find anything unique about it. I'm no BBQ expert but maybe that's the point; to showcase the meat...

                                The beef rib was drier than I like but quite beefy and while I preferred the pork, my dining companion preferred the rib. I would have like the rib to have a sauce on it. The outside has traces of a rub. There isn't much of a bark and it's steam re-heated in the back I think. The whole rib is very meaty. In fact I think it's the meatiest beef rib I've encountered. I overheard the guy at the counter tell another customer that it's smoked for 6 hours.

                                For sides we ordered the mac and cheese and the sweet potato fries as well as received a sample of the baked beans. I didn't try the mac and cheese but it didn't look wet or creamy. There was a bit of breadcrumb topping too.

                                The baked beans were super underwhelming. I liked that they weren't sweet but the beans were not cooked enough and there wasn't any meatiness. Maybe it needed some salt or maybe because I tried it after some pork it just couldn't compare.

                                The sweet potato fries were my favourite item. Lovely Asia describes them perfectly. For me, they're the best sweet potato fry followed by Burger Bar (though at BB you get a fantastic chipotle ketchup). No heaviness and crisp.

                                Overall, I would return to try other items on a good review but I didn't find it worth a trek across the city.

                                1. I never got around to posting my trip out there last month. I enjoyed it overall but the ribs were not the best I have had in the city (Stockyards was much better quality I found ... the meat at Smokin' Bones tasted more "tough). The baked beans were great and my friends enjoyed their meals...

                                  An update from their mailing list that I got in my e-mail today:

                                  We asked for your feedback and we'd like to thank all of you who took the time to send in comments . We've got some changes that we're really excited about and want to share with all of you:

                                  - We now have a homemade andouille sausage that is all meat and seasonings & NO fillers! It is slow cooked in our smokers to give it extra flavour. This is something that couldn't be rushed; a lot of work has gone into this sausage and we think you'll be pleased with the result. This means that we have 2 new menu items:
                                  - Andouille sausage sandwich (served with sauteed onions) $5.50
                                  - Jambalaya! (full of shrimp, sausage & rice) $9.00

                                  Also, you asked for crustier buns (that could hold up better to our saucy sandwiches) and we got them!
                                  Many of you wanted spicier chili - it's here!

                                  We are currently testing some different fried chicken recipes and will also soon have an extra hot volcano BBQ sauce for those of you who like a lot of heat.

                                  We've gotten some great reviews recently and have posted links to them on the homepage of our website at www.smokinbones.ca. We continuously endeavour to produce quality homemade from scratch food and we appreciate all of the support we have had. Please keep the comments coming; we're here to make your southern food experience a delicious one and we can't do that unless you tell us how we're doing!

                                  The Smokin' Bones Team

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: ylsf

                                    Crustier buns?! BBQ is perfect when messy! And I had no issues with a hard-to-eat sandwich when there. What the heck are people talking about?!

                                    Who wants crusty buns with pulled pork and meatloaf?! I have visions of inappropriate buns tearing my mouth apart and creating an awkward eating experience now. Personally I like soft buns with pulled pork and barbeque in general. But hey, if that is what people were asking for, what do I know?

                                    1. re: magic

                                      I totally agree but looks like they're making adjustments to meet the demands of the market. Several of the BBQ joint threads on this board have complaints about the buns the meat is served on. Every noteworthy BBQ place I've been to in the US served the meat on generic no brand hamburger buns because it's about the meat, the bun is just a way to avoid using a fork. It's interesting that several of the compaints about various BBQ in the city are based on an expection of what it should be based on personal taste rather than a prior BBQ experience. The bun complaints are a classic example of that.

                                      At least it seems like they're focused on putting out a good product. It's a refreshing alternative to the competition on Mount Pleasant that serves up globs of fat claiming "that's just how it's done".

                                      1. re: abigllama

                                        Agreed that they are listening to customers is a good thing. But basically I think a BBQ a proprietor should do what their BBQ hearts tell them is true cue. Not what some crusty bun wanting customers suggest. I do like the fact they care what their customers think though, you are quite right about that. But, uggh, crustier buns. Good grief, man. But hey, to each their own.

                                        Also, I think it was Bayview that you meant, not Mount Pleasant.... :)

                                        1. re: magic

                                          Crustier buns probably equals meat squishing out the back side of the the sandwich.

                                          I guess you can have it less bun.


                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            It just becomes an awkward eat, man.

                                            But yeah, who knows. Hopefully they know what they're doing. Either way I guess I won't lose too much sleep on this one. It just bugged me a bit. I'll get over it. :)

                                      2. re: magic

                                        I HATE the soft buns. Yes, it's traditional but I hate it in Memphis (and everywhere else too). Feels like wet cardboard in my mouth and sticks to the roof. Totally spoils BBQ for me.
                                        Same thing at the Black Camel (originally). Then they switched to a Portuguese style bun and now I'm a regular - even take it on plane trips instead of buying food at the airport, or on the plane.
                                        Also I like a bit of 'chew' to my BBQ meat; the fall-off-the-bone style reminds me of baby food. In pulled pork, I want to 'feel the strands'. Similarly some texture in my bread/bun adds to the experience, for me.

                                        I guess there are two (or more) camps on this one. Sort of like Montreal-style vs Gryfe's Bagels.

                                        Obviously he's making changes based on feedback - seems like that makes sense for the long-term survival, but having been on the 'wrong side' of changes in other places, I do feel your hurt - especially as you realize that too.
                                        And I'm totally in favour of the hotter sauce addition - the current ones remind me too much of ketchup (although I hear there are people around that like that too).

                                        1. re: estufarian

                                          I actually love Black Camel's Portuguese rolls. I don't find them crusty. They are just right, they enhance the sandwich. As long as I don't destroy the insides of my mouth with jagged crust and my sandwich doesn't become a pain in the butt (!!) to eat due to the bread I'd be there. But I'm hardly a regular at Smokin Bones so in no way should they listen to me anyways.

                                          And yes, they definitely should do what makes good survival sense for them - absolutely 100%. I'm just mouthing off as a concerned BBQ fan, that's all. At the end of the day it's their business and I do applaud them for respecting what their customers think. For sure.

                                          1. re: magic

                                            Seems like next time we visit Smokin' Bones we suggest the Portuguese Bun compromise - after all the owner is Portuguese (heritage)!

                                              1. re: magic

                                                Up at Blue Mountain there a place called Rusty's that serves up some solid briskit and pulled pork on cibatta. While I prefer the traditional generic hamburger bun, the cibatta works. But it's a bit more chewy than crusty so I'll buy into the Portuguese Roll suggestion. :)

                                                1. re: abigllama

                                                  Hmm, Rusty's. Never hoid of it. Looks like it's new to Intrawest? Sounds good! Thanks a bunch for the tip.

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    It's an ape of Dusty's at Whistler. We actually met Rusty last year on a patio at Whistler and he was trying to bring some of that to Blue. It's more of a beer and nachos place with BBQ, but they do have smokers behind the side deck and can smell it when they're smoking. It's a bit on the pricy side as most is up at Blue but the briskit and pulled pork were both excellent.

                                                    1. re: abigllama

                                                      Well I will definitely be checking this place out. Sounds fun! Thanks!

                                                      1. re: magic

                                                        Have been back to Smokin Bones twice since my original review, and while they are suffering from slow business I am happy to report that they have made MAJOR improvements to the Fried Chicken, and in my opinion it is better than Stockyards Fried Chicken - which is a bit too spicy and burnt tasting to me.

                                                        The fried chicken at Smokin Bones is now moist and juicy on the inside and has a wonderful light and crispy crust on the outside - just a touch on the salty side but nowhere near as salty as KFC. If you are a fan of crispy fried chicken - this is a must try. 1000% better than when they first opened.

                                                        The pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and spicy or volcano bbq sauce is still a great choice and the meatloaf sandwich is also good.

                                                        The ribs are good but I do wish they offered the St. Louis style spareribs which I consider to be meatier and juicier than baby back ribs.

                                                        The sweet potato fries are still great!

                                                        I have read plenty of negative reviews on Chowhound about this place, but I still maintain that it is a decent place for BBQ if you don't live close to Stockyards, let alone Buster Rhino's in Whitby.

                                                        I just hope that they are able to continue to adjust their menu to attract new business but not change it so much as to lose existing customers.

                                                        St. Louis
                                                        595 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G2C2, CA

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