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Smokin' Bones - go while you can

I was at Smokin' Bones last week for lunch. Andouille sausage, made in house, pulled chicken, onion rings, corn bread and the beans between three of us. All of it delicious - hell they make their own onion rings instead of serving those Sysco or McCain battered circles.

Thing is, the place was empty. At 1:30 on a Tuesday. It shouldn't be. I'm sure part of it is the location, Church and Dundas can be off putting to some people, and all the Ryerson students seem to go north and west.

That brings me to yesterday - I've heard from another Smokin' Bones aficionado that their numbers are down. Way down. If they don't get better than they'll have to close the doors at the end of the month. Now I don't mind doing my part to help - eating southern bbq to keep a business going is a win / win to me, but I can only eat so much. If you've been and liked it, or plan to go, now's the time. I'd hate to see one of the more unique menus in town disappear.

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  1. I don't understand how any of you can be raving about how good this place is. For once it seems the general public knows better than the chowhounders on this board. I tried them once and hated it. The food sits on a steam table. Even the fried chicken! The sausage gravy had zero taste or seasoning. The onion rings were the one thing they made to order and even then they were falling apart and super greasy. What's unique about this place? Every bbq place in town is better than these guys.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbug206

      Well gosh, I'm raving about it because I LIKED IT. Good reason eh? So you tried it once, you hated it - so be it. But some of us have tried it, liked it, and want it to stick around. As for every bbq place being better, I beg to differ. Some might be better, but some are a hell of lot worse too.

    2. That would be pretty crappy if they don't have enough cash flow/capital to support it past the end of March. You need to figure it will take a few months to get a restaurant up and going. I had a meal there a month or so ago and although it wasn't my best BBQ experience ever it was worth while going to for sure I would go back if I was in the area.

      1. I haven't been to the restaurant, but it's unfortunately not a very good location despite the proximity to the Eaton Centre. I used to go to school nearby, and while I would visit 241 regularly for lunch, I was rarely willing to venture east of Church for anything else. Keep in mind that this isn't a neighbourhood that can easily support the kind of lunch and pedestrian traffic necessary to keep a restaurant like this going year round, and the area just isn't attractive enough to sway visitors/food tourists away from other nearby "lunch strips." I hope they find a solution to this - perhaps following Buster Rhino's distribution model? But I won't hold out much hope for them filling their lunch needs without some kind of miraculous publicity campaign. Good luck!

        1. I went here last month.. Tried a pulled pork sandwich and rack of ribs.

          The pulled pork was indeed in a steamtable, and WAY "over steamed".. the pork was mushy and completely greyish brown throughout; no visible bark or smoke ring at all. I like that it was finely shredded, but other than that, wasn't too crazy about it. And then the ribs.. Well.. I didn't really like the dry rub on them, at all. It was way too savory, and again, didn't see much of any smoke ring or major evidence of smoke on them.

          And then it brings me to the guy taking your orders.. I'm not sure what his deal is but he's completely unhelpful and unenthusiastic. It was like ordering from Kevin on the TV show The Office.

          I always wish southern BBQ places all the best, but if I was in charge, I'd definitely change up alot of things.

          Oh and the mac & cheese was brutal. Underseasoned majorly, no flavor at all

          1 Reply
          1. re: duckdown

            I agree on the service. I realize it is just counter service but the guy behind the counter when I went as not very helpful, enthusiastic or very interested in informing customers about much. It was like pulling teeth talking to .

          2. I can walk there in 20 minutes or so, but I've never tried Smokin' Bones for one simple reason: I understand that they don't have any proper seats or tables. And by the time I carry food like fried chicken or pulled pork sandwiches 20 minutes home I know it's going to be a cold soggy mess. Proper seating would expand the range of potential customers beyond those who live within 5 a minute walk. Shame because from the email mailers I get from them, they do seem to be genuinely enthused about listening to customers and providing something different.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Gary

              That's exactly why I haven't been. I live and work a walkable distance, but I don't want to carry food that far. If I can't eat there, I'm not going to go unless I hear it is absolutely amazing, which it doesn't seem to be.

              1. re: Gary

                there is a "table bench" like you'd find at a pizza parlor with stools, if I recall

                I don't know if theres any truth to it, but I've heard that if a table has actual regular sit-down tables and regular-height chairs, then by law they're required to have a public washroom.. yet if they use a high table with stools, they don't need it. thats what the owner of my local pizza place told me, at least..

                1. re: duckdown

                  If you read the regulations attached to the Provincial Health protection and Promotion Act there are a number of exemptions to the requirement that food premises have 2 washrooms (that's right, in Ontario a single unisex washroom in a restaurant, no matter how small, is technically illegal) but this isn't one of them. I don't know how pizza places get away with this.

                  1. re: bytepusher

                    If it's anything like Oshawa (which it most likely is), the requirement doesn't actually come from the provincial health protection and promotion act. It either comes from a local bylaw, or building code (building code I do believe) and you are required to have at least 1 bathroom that is handy capable. This of course means there must be a hallway to be able to get that wheelchair down, then they must be able to actually turn the wheelchair around in a full circle inside the bathroom. Many smaller places do not have the room for this which in turn means no seating (newer places). This may be why they don't have seating or bathrooms for the public.

                    1. re: BusterRhino

                      I'm assuming that it's different from Oshawa, because most reastaurants in Toronto have the washrooms downstairs (ie. not wheelchair accessible).

                  2. re: duckdown

                    There's washrooms downstairs, you need to get a key for the door. Granted they're short on signage but there are washrooms.