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New Q! Stack BBQ

This place opened shop a week or so back at 3265 Yonge St. (lawrence area).
sadly, no website yet, so, Wondering if anyone checked it out yet?

MnV

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  1. Yep, thought it was okay. Okay price. Needs a better smoke ring/taste on the pertinent items. Smoked chicken was quite nice.

    Ultimate platter ($59) - Three of us destroyed it.
    https://twitter.com/#!/foodpr0n/media...

    Lots of families in the early evening, but it's set up to be a bar/hangout for the adults later on. Lots of room (2 floors). Looks nice. I have photos & menu in my camera, but that won't see the light of day for a while unless I get on it this weekend XD

    7 Replies
    1. re: jlunar

      Not being a BBQ buff, I can't attest to its authenticity, but the large-ish menu - not all of it BBQ-related - is tasty and modestly priced. Brisket sandwich could've used a tad more brisket in it. The ribs were not Universal Grill quality (or Universal Grill price), yet flavourful nonetheless. Well laid out, comfy booths, alert young staff in matching Stack tee-shirts. Seems more like an upscale neighbourhood diner than a crusty old BBQ joint. As jlunar has pointed out, it's mainly families early on, later snackers/drinkers gazing at the big-screen TVs tuned to sports. Well-selected wines and beers at substantially lower prices than the murderous markups elsewhere on that strip of Yonge Street. Busy. Proprietor cruises the floor to keep things humming, chatting with customers, defusing inevitable problems in a place that's been open just a few weeks. Good vibe. Mind, I've only been in once. Need a couple more shots at it before it's moved to my go-to list. Not something I'd traverse the city for, but I'm glad it's only a short drive away for me. Promising.

      1. re: juno

        Agreed with your assessment juno. It's a decent spot and I am not a BBQ buff (went with one who was though). Good neighbourhood place. Lots of money into the restaurant & menu design and such - which makes me all curious why their site is non-existant! Maybe they want to go by word-of-mouth first for a slower roll-out? Not that seemed the case given how busy it was on day 2.

        1. re: jlunar

          Web site is still being built. I'm guessing independent design firm and some missed deadlines. :) Must really on FB and Twitter for now.

      2. re: jlunar

        Nice pic. Question: Was the smoked chicken shown (if it was, I guessing it's the shredded meat)?

        1. re: T Long

          Actually, it's a whole (well, half on the platter) chicken. Between the fries and the cast-iron pan of mac & cheese (didn't like that).

      3. I totally didn't realize that this was at Yonge and Lawrence. Nice, will have to check it out soon.

        1. I went to Stack to get some take out for lunch yesterday. This is the space that used to be Sorrento. It's right next door to The Friendly Butcher at Yonge and Roslin.

          They've done a super nice job renovating the place, it's looks great -- seriously upscale for a BBQ spot. And BIG and they take reservations, both of which are good. But note that this is NOT a pure "BBQ joint" -- it's got a huge menu divided up into these main areas: apps, burgers (smashed, griddled), sandwiches, salads, smokehouse, shakes, donuts and desserts.

          Here's the run down, based on a really nice chat I had with the bartender (and maybe manager?) while I was waiting for my lunch:

          - The place is owned by a couple that owns several Shoeless Joe franchises. They felt limited by the franchise and wanted to own their own place where they could make decisions about
          ingredients and what to put on the menu.

          - They have a gas-fired Southern Pride smoker. It's a big one: holds 500 lbs. of meat. It's right in the restaurant, but totally enclosed in glass with a separate ventilation system, so you can see it, but not smell it. For some, this is good, for others, not so much. Your call. :)

          - The owner experimented a lot with smoking techniques (woods, timing, etc.) prior to opening. So he's not a "Q expert from down yonder", but he seems to care.

          - The burgers (which I didn't order) are of the smashed variety that are so popular right now. They aren't currently set up to grind in house, but they are going to be once they settle in a bit more. Right now, The Friendly Butcher next door is grinding their meat for them. The burgers are pricey, but probably about right for the neighbourhood: $9.00 for a regular burger with the regular fixins. $12 and up for the fancier burgers with crazy toppings. Burgers are a la carte, so if you want sides, they're mostly $3 or $4.

          - They have a "man vs. food" type challenge. 2 1-lb burgers, a pound of fries and a shake (something along those lines, I can't recall the exact details). Must finish in 30 minutes.

          So, onto the food I had. I had the half-rack ribs dinner, which is served with fries, slaw and beans. The ribs are back ribs, and were tender (but with a bit of bite) and tasty, but not overly smoky. I personally would have enjoyed more smoke, but DH is of the "not too much smoke, please" variety, so he liked 'em as is. The slaw was fine, nothing to get excited about, but decent. But the beans were excellent! Clearly home made, lots of bits of shredded pork and a nice molasses flavour with a bit of tang. I am normally not a huge beans fan, as they are usually way too sweet for my taste, but these were really good.

          DH had a panino, which was not of the grilled variety. But it was on a very good, chewy bun, and was loaded with a grilled chicken breast, huge thick slice of ham, smoked bacon, cheese and garlic mayo. He loved it. I had a bite -- it was tasty and the ingredients were great quality.

          My favourite part of the meal was dessert: a brown paper bag filled with a dozen or so tiny doughnuts (of the Tiny Tom/Little Nicky variety). Fried fresh and tossed with a light cinnamon sugar mix. They were crispy, greasy (in that "bad for you, but so good" way) and totally addictive. If you eat in, they have a bunch of "fancy" doughnut options topped with all sorts of stuff (there's a s'mores version, for example). But plain and simple was perfect for me.

          Bottom line: this is a nice neighbourhood restaurant that also has BBQ. It's clearly set up to expand into multiple locations if they are successful. I'm doubtful it will become a mecca for BBQ purists, as the smoke levels are quite low to satisfy the tamer tastes of North Toronto eaters. But they seem to be using quality ingredients and they seem to care about what they are putting out. They will do *very* well in that location, as it's an alternate, but "safe" restaurant in a neighbourhood that is crying out for non-Italian options. My lunch was good enough that I'll definitely go back to try more of the food. It's definitely worth a try if you're in the area. I'll need to try more before deciding whether it's worth traveling for. But yay for more options in North Toronto, wasteland for interesting food choices.

          They are open at 11:30 every day. No web site yet, but they are on Twitter @stacksmmmoked and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/STACKsmmmoked

          1 Reply
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Oh yes, the beans! Those were quite good. I had the doughnuts too. Got plain and s'mores. Liked the s'mores, but could only eat maybe half - so greasy! Still prefer little nicky's, but Stacks' version suit the food.

          2. The most important question: How does it compare to Camp 31, the gold standard for authentic southern BBQ in southern Ontario?

            19 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo

                How does it compare to HWY 61 on Bayview? That would be the closest place to it, I imagine.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  HWY 61 got such universally bad reviews that I never felt a need to go. But from passing it and looking in, I'd say that Stack is much nicer looking from a decor perspective. And I think the menu is broader than HWY 61.

                  But I'm reserving further judgement on Stack until I can go back and try more dishes. One carry-out lunch does not make for a terribly informed opinion.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    I read all the bad reviews about HWY 61 also, but my cousin lives close to HWY 61 and picked up food twice from there to bring to the cottage. I would never have known she got it from there as it was good!

                    I was just on the HWY 61 website and it says they were voted #1 ribs in Toronto by Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini. Who would have guessed.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      Yeah, I had the ribs there when it had that on the menu and they were HORRIBLE. I vowed to never go back but I read a review on here that they recently changed owners or something and they are doing it better now.

              2. re: TexSquared

                I've never had a good meal at Camp 31, service is slow, menu is limited (brisket only on the combo platter not as its own main??) and the meat that is served has been dry more times than not.. If that is the "gold" standard we are in trouble..

                1. re: ParkerQ

                  Personally I've always had great service and occasionally great food at Camp 31. I have to agree though that it's a very risky trip out there from Toronto because more times than not the bbq disappoints. Biggest complaint for us is dried out ribs. Also not a big fan of the sugary sauce at the best of times. Camp sides are always great though. Brisket is far superior at Barque.

                  Hadley's has some of the best pork ribs and chicken in my opinion.

                  1. re: ParkerQ

                    Camp 31 is really overrated by purists. I guarantee if they opened on Queen west and served the exact same food their champions would change their tune.

                    1. re: jamesm

                      They would possibly benefit by being in the city. I think part of their problem is that the ribs sit around for a few days too long between being smoked and reheated on the grill. With consistent, busy traffic, perhaps the food would always be fresh and juicy....just a guess with a dose of optimisim. : )

                  2. re: TexSquared

                    I'm not sure how universally people like Camp 31, but based on recommendations here I made the trek and was terribly disappointed. The rack of ribs I was served initially were clearly overdone and dried out, and I had to send them back. The replacement rack was good, but I would never go there again based on what they tried to push on me initially. I much prefer Buster Rhino's or Kentucky Greg's, or more locally, Paul and Sandy's Real Barbeque in Etobicoke.

                    ETA: It's interesting to see that others have had the same experience that I've had with dried out ribs.

                    1. re: TOFoodie1

                      Never had a bad meal from Buster. P&S is never open when I try.

                      1. re: justsayn

                        I think they're open Tuesday to Saturday.

                        1. re: terrycar

                          Thanks! They also seem to close randomly. I really want to try the place!

                        2. re: justsayn

                          Yes, I've never, ever had a bad rack of ribs from Buster Rhino, but I always go Thursday or Friday afternoon when they are pulling them fresh from the smoker :-) Add a side of great fresh-cut fries and I'm a happy boy!

                          Highway 61 on the other hand - I went 3 times (because I like blues music and convinced myself I ordered the wrong items), but no, it's all pretty BAD, and I'll not go back.

                          Stack doesn't sound "up my alley" and Camp31 is inconsistent, but I've not tried the fried chicken, which I am a sucker for... hmmm...

                        3. re: TOFoodie1

                          My parents live in Paris, so I grab some food at Camp31 when I feed them - I get it every couple of months or so. I think the food is good - but not great by any means. I actually think the fried chicken is 100x better than the ribs. As for the ribs, better can be had at Barque/BRs/Stockyards. Will try the brisket next time too. Pulled pork is just ok, corn bread is decent - but seriously - nothing is amazing there. Maybe the fried chicken. Maybe.

                          1. re: justxpete

                            For southern Ontario, camp31 is still my place ......agreed love the fried chicken there....I have never experienced the dried out meat, however, it's possible it's due to the fact I've only been on weekends on busy busy days where there's less product sitting around all day.

                          2. re: TOFoodie1

                            I will add Memphis Fire BBQ in Winona to the list too in addition to the ones you mentioned above. I had a decent experience at Camp 31 the one time I went though.

                            1. re: ylsf

                              Albeit it was just one visit last year but Memphis Fire in Winona (just outside of Hamilton) was much better than Camp 31 which I went to a handful of times in a month last year and several times a year before. Every time we go by Hamilton or out to Niagara we'll be stopping in at Memphis Fire! I have two things when we hit a BBQ joint, pulled pork and brisket (I don't like ribs) and for Camp 31 while the pulled pork is fine, the sauce isn't my favourite, the brisket is bizarre, usually very dry and deli sliced-like. Weird. I smoked a brisket for the first time last weekend and it was much better than what I've had at Camp 31.

                              1. re: lister

                                i've been dying to try memphis fire.... ribs are ok @ camp31 as compared to other establishments in the GTA IMO .. i enjoy the pulled pork, fried chicken, chicken and my new favourite.. chicken wings.
                                yes.. i've seen their brisket and it didnt' look that great to me...thats why i never order it.

                          1. re: meatnveg

                            What? You didn't read my ENTIRE wall of text post for that info? ;o)

                            They are open every day at 11:30.

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              My eyes glazed over at '500lbs of meat'