After seeing an article in the Toronto Sun Newspaper there was a mention and a picture of Mark Andrade of Rubbs Barbeque Bistro holding a plate of Ribs.
Knowing that here in the Southern Ontario there are very few true BBQ joints I had to find out more.
At first because of the article I figured it was in the Toronto area but after googling it I was pleasantly surprised to see that Rubbs was indeed in Campbellford which is about 2 hours and 20 minutes North East of Toronto (an hour and a half from my house in Oshawa)
My In-laws have lived in Campbellford for the last 15 years or so and I know the area well. So I decided to while in the area stop by for a quick bite to eat.
It was around 6 pm on a Saturday and I wanted to get back in time to at least watch some of the Hockey game at my friend Herman’s that evening. So I did not want to stay all that long.
The first thing I noticed was that the location could not of been better being right on the 4 corners in the main part of town.
Walking in I right away felt that the decor was inviting , nothing fancy just a comfortable place to sit down and have a meal with a TV in the corner and a small bar that you could pull up a bar stool and enjoy a drink or 3.
I had a seat and a friendly waitress came over with a smile and brought me a menu. I should of played with my camera settings a little more but you can get the idea of the bistro’s menu (and you can also see the menu on the website both Lunch and Dinner.
I would of loved to try so many items on the menu but after just a couple of hours earlier having a full Turkey dinner, I decided on trying the Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of Baked Beans and a Diet Pepsi.
I only had to wait a few minutes and this great looking plate of BBQ goodness was put in front of me.
As you can see after lifting the bu off the top there was a nice layer of Slaw added to it and some more on the side. and I was surprised at the nice large bowl of the beans as well. though I was a bit disappointed with the taste of the beans, they were actually cold and it seemed that they had been sitting for a while. but that was the only downside to this meal If I had more of a hunger I would of asked the waitress for another bowl but since I was close to having a full belly I did not bother.
I then dug into the Pulled Pork Sandwich and that made up for any downside by the beans!, having attended 6 Rib-fests over the summer I had tasted a lot of very good Pulled Pork, but I have to say this Pulled Pork from Rubbs Barbeque Bistro was wonderful, it was a generous amount of meat on a large bun with the slaw which was creamy and fresh with just the correct consistency and flavour. The sauce that was used was their Carolina Sour which compliment the Pulled pork perfectly, you do not want the sauce to overpower the meat but you want to taste it and this combination just melted in my mouth, I wonder if anyone could see the smile that I was sure I was showing, it was that good!
I had read on the website that some evenings also include live bands, but I was there too early to get the pleasure of listening to any music.
I paid my bill along with a nice tip for the waitress which I thought was friendly and made sure that I was well served, and it was after I paid that I left my card and mentioned that I would contact them later on. The waitress gave me one of Mark’s business cards as well.
After getting home I sent an email to Rubbs asking for more information and Kelly Homer was kind enough to respond in a timely manner and answer a few questions that I had.
Below you will find the questions I asked and the answers that Kelly gave me through Marks words.
1. What is your name?
RUBBS Barbeque Bistro
2. How long have you been open? And why open in Campbellford? Why the attraction to a small town compared to maybe opening in a large city?
RUBBS Barbeque Bistro has been open since 2007. From 2007-2009 it was located 10 minutes from Campbellford in Warkworth.
There are many advantages to being in a small town as being in a large city. In a small town you have the support of the community, access to in restaurant deliveries from produce grown miles from the restaurant and beef that is raised within driving distance. I have children along with the majority of my staff have children and it is an excellent place to raise a family. Campbellford is in Northumberland county which is a destination location for tourists. We are within a 2 1/2 hr drive from Ottawa, 2 hours east of Toronto, an hour from Kingston and 45 minutes from Peterborough and Belleville. We have a local brewery in Campbellford along with Worlds Finest Chocolates and Empire cheese 5 minutes each from the restaurant.
3. What background did you have before the restaurant?
I was a chef for a number of years in Port Hope prior to going into business for myself.
4. Why BBQ?
I have always loved the taste of excellent BBQ. The process and patience that is necessary for the smoking process intrigues and inspires me. There is a massive appeal to Barbeque food that makes it a growing market no matter where you have your restaurant.
5. Do you smoke on premises?
Yes- all meat is smoked on premise. Chicken smoked up to 2 hours, Ribs 4 hours, Pulled pork 8 hours and the brisket done slowly over 14 hours.
6. Was there any issues in getting to open a BBQ place? I ask because there are some communities that will not allow smoking equipment, depending on zoning bylaws.
There has been no issues or problems with the smoking process that is used at our Campbellford location.
7. What equipment do you use for your smoking?
We smoke daily in a COOK SHACK smoker.
8. How much of the various meats do you go through in an average week?
decline to comment (understandable)
9. What is your best seller?
We sell out of our ribs and brisket. Our customers enjoy the smoke flavour that is brought out in our smoking process.
10. Please tell me about the rubs and sauces that you use, without giving away any secrets what makes you successful with them?
We have four house sauces created in house Maple, Gooseberry, Carolina Sour and Scotch Bonnet. Each sauce varying in taste and temperature. We will be launching our sauce product line this month. Retail merchandise is being designed now and will expand into the restaurant and select locations with a target date of December. It will also be available on line as well.
11. Do you also do catering?
Yes. We offer a variety of catering options. We can do it in house or delivery. We work with our customers request for the menu to allow them and their party to enjoy the food and reason for their event and make it as stress-less as possible. We have hosted birthday, anniversary, engagement, Christmas, hockey/sports and many more type of in house events. RUBBS always tried to provide fun in a relaxed setting with excellent service.
12. Do you sell your sauces and or rubs retail?
answered in #10.
13. How many employees work for you?
At peak season we have up to 10 food and service employees.
14. What do you like best about your work?
The creativity that the diverse menu offers the chef. Meeting new people and having interesting conversations with people from all over the world that have come to Campbellford for one personal reason or another
15. What is the toughest part of your work?
Finding the right balance between hours creating, cooking, managing, bookkeeping and still feeling inspired to create something excellent from food everyday
16. Does the restaurant have a facebook page?
Yes we are on Facebook
17. Are you on twitter?
We are not on twitter today. We hope to have it implemented by the end of November. We have a website www.rubbsbbq.ca
18. What would you like to add that the readers would find interesting?
RUBBS is a restaurant that aims to give each customer a great experience from the time they walk in the door to when they leave. Whether they are here for food or come after the kitchen closes on Friday and Saturday nights for music and drinks. We increase the vibe on Friday and Saturday nights after 9:00 to include sometimes live music from musicians who love to play excellent tunes and/or we put on house music and encourage our customers to dance and enjoy themselves.
I then had 2 follow up questions…..
F1. Which sauce would of been served on the Pulled Pork Sandwich?
The pulled pork that you enjoyed the evening you were into the restaurant was Carolina Sour.
F2. Would you say you try to emulate a certain type of BBQ ie: Memphis, Carolina’s, Kansas City or Texas or do you combine in your menu? I see that one of your sauces is the Carolina Sour, Carolina has a number of different sauce that vary from region to region there, do you know which region it would belong to?
If we were to have to narrow down the region of influence it would be Kansas City. The reason is that the sauces from that region are thicker in tomato base and sweeter then those from other regions. There was no particular region that we picked from in Carolina. We did know that the Carolina region are known for their vinegar based sauces. We took from their sour undertones and added it to our own tomato base sauce.
I was very impressed by Rubbs Barbeque Bistro and I am already making plans to go back out there in the near future with a buddy and sample more from the menu, From my first impressions I think this is a great BBQ joint that I would recommend highly.
I love the fact that it is nestled in a small town, and I would imagine that it is a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy real BBQ.
For people that live in the area to the east of Toronto it would be worth the drive to Campbellford.