What’s on the menu at Bar*Q, Barque Restaurant’s new burger joint on Roncesvalles

What’s on the menu at Bar*Q, Barque Restaurant’s new burger joint on Roncesvalles

Name: Bar*Q
Contact: 287 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-532-7700, barque.ca/bar, @barquebbq
Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles
Previously: Barque Butcher Bar
Chef-owner: David Neinstein
Accessibility: Ramp at entrance; washrooms down a flight of stairs

The food

Last year was a year of change for Barque owner David Neinstein: he closed his big Burlington location, shut down his catering company and then, right at the end of 2019, he decided to rebrand Barque Butcher Bar. “I was inspired to do something interesting that would drive more business—and maybe justify renewing the lease,” says Neinstein. That something turned out to be Bar*Q, a place to grab a griddle-smashed burger and a pint of local beer while watching whatever game is on one of the bar’s three new screens.

“The whole concept is to keep it simple,” says Neinstein. “There are a lot of great burger places in Toronto—Gold Standard, Rudy, Burger’s Priest—we’re not trying to reinvent the burger. But burger places tend to be in-and-out affairs—there aren’t many places you can sit, watch a game and have a nice dining experience. And that’s what I wanted.” Bar*Q’s short-and-sweet menu is comprised of a few different burgers (including a meatless one), chicken wings and some sides (fries, a take on Frito Pie, even a couple of salads). Here’s a look at what you can get.

Nacho Taco, the bar’s take on Frito Pie, tops house-made corn chips with smoked chicken, queso, charred tomato salsa, pickled jalapenos and charred green onion sour cream. At the bottom of the skillet: a hidden tortilla that can be rolled up with any of the leftover bits to make a sneaky taco ($12). Pimento Cheese and Ritz is exactly that, house-made pimento cheese served with a ring of Ritz crackers ($8).


Wings are available dry or saucy. These smoky dill pickle wings are brined, smoked, flash-fried and then finished with a house dill pickle rub. $14 for a pound.


The Oklahoma Onion Burger is a tribute to the patties at Tucker’s Onion Burgers in Oklahoma City. A quarter-pound brisket-sirloin burger is loaded up with American cheese and onions that have been cooked with the beef, then nestled in a squishy Martin’s Potato Roll ($9). It’s pictured here with vinegar-brined shoestring fries tossed in a house barbecue rub ($6).


For the Cheddar Jalapeño Sausage Burger, a patty of finely ground pork shoulder, fresh jalapeños and cheddar cheese is topped with fried onions, lettuce and a charred onion sour cream ($10). It’s pictured here with a cucumber salad ($7).


For dessert there’s cornflake-crusted deep-fried maple ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry. “It’s small, but nobody wants a huge dessert after burgers and beer,” says Neinstein. $7.


The drinks

There’s beer, bourbon, cider and wine—but mostly beer and bourbon. “We try to keep all the drinks hyper-local, so most of the beers come from basically a couple kilometres in either direction. That way we can keep it interesting and really fresh,” says Neinstein. This means that currently there’s stuff on offer from Great Lakes, Henderson, Bellwoods and Blood Brothers. There’s also a create-your-own-old-fashioned menu, where guests can choose their bourbon (or mezcal), their sweetener and their bitter, to make their ideal drink.

A favourite from Barque Butcher Bar, the Smoke and Choke mixes bourbon with Cynar, liquid smoke and maple. $14.


The Smoked Bourbon Sour also combines bourbon with liquid smoke, but this time there’s lemon involved. $14.


The space

Not too much has changed since its Barque Butcher Bar days—there’s some bar seating, some cozy two-tops down one side of the space and more tables at the back. But there are now three TVs on which to screen [insert sport here] games. For those interested in a different kind of entertainment, there’s a shelf stocked with books and board games.

A lot of Barque’s own sauces, rubs and marinades are for sale, including a new Trader Joe’s–inspired Everything Bagel spice.