Introducing: Drake BBQ, a simplified Southern meat-a-thon on Queen West
Just in time for the cold weather, the Drake Hotel has opened a barbecue pop-up shop in its old Scoops and Tees space. “In Canada, barbecue is associated with summer, but in the south they do it rain or shine,” says chef Anthony Rose. “I grew up in the south—southern Ontario, anyway. When I was a kid, my mom would start the barbecue in February.”
On his simple menu, Rose is offering three types of sandwiches: the Texas beef brisket ($8), the Carolina pulled pork shoulder ($7) and the 60/60 ($9), which is a combination of the two meats. The chef tells us that the pig comes from Perth Pork Products in Stratford and is marinated for a few days before it’s smoked for 18 hours over charcoal and applewood at the back of the shop. The buns are nothing fancy, because, Rose says, “We wanted something that would just hold the meat and not overshadow it.” Side items include Tymek’s sour pickles (75 cents), kettle chips from Covered Bridge of New Brunswick ($1.50), locally grown peanuts ($2) and Ezell’s coleslaw ($1.50). For drinks, there are nostalgia-inducing glass bottles of Coke ($2.50), as well as Boylan’s root beer and cherry cola ($3).
Interestingly, the idea of southern barbecue isn’t the first concept that was developed to replace Scoops and Tees. Bill Simpson, the hotel’s general manager, told us that they previously considered a taco bar and a seafood shop, but those were scrapped in favour of the barbecue shop’s more streamlined ordering process.
The pop-up shop is open Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. “until the meat runs out.”
Drake BBQ, 1150 Queen St. W. (at Beaconsfield Ave.), 416-531-5042, thedrakehotel.ca/BBQ.