Today my day job took me about 40 minutes north of Toronto to the city of Newmarket, not far from Mulock Drive and Hwy 404
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My timing could not be better as last night I was reading an interesting thread on Chow Hound’s website discussing BARQUE BBQ which I had reviewed a few weeks ago.
In this discussion someone mentioned that Toronto Life Magazine had announced their top 5 BBQ joints in the GTA (General Toronto Area)
I may not agree with that food critics list so rather than my listing his choices I would suggest you click on the above link and you can check that out for your self.
Besides if there is one thing I have learned the past couple of years it is that tastes vary from person to person and with all of the different BBQ styles there really can not be a right or wrong but they can be different and still good!
At any rate in that top 5 list was Big Bone BBQ at 207 Eagle Street in Newmarket so I input it into my GPS and was pleased to see that it was 5 minutes from my meeting with a supplier.
It was about 2 in the afternoon when I walked in to the small little restaurant located in a tiny strip mall that only had a few tables but in a friendly atmosphere with walls adorned with some cool pictures and news clippings. on Big Bone and sister restaurants, Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge (which was sold off and still operates today) and The Purple Pig in Toronto which is no longer open.
When I arrived there was a gentleman picking up a takeout order and shortly after I sat down a young couple with an infant sat down for a meal.
My server Meagan brought me a menu which you can see below (It is a large single sided laminated menu that i took 3 pictures of in parts so that you could read it better though I still did not get great photos of the menu)
Having only a bowl of Cornflakes in the morning I was ready for a good lunch and started off with the Potato & Bacon Soup which came with a slice of Corn Bread as a starter.
The soup was very appealing and tasted wonderful, it was hearty and was a perfect sized portion. I enjoyed the Corn Bread which was similar to a pound cake consistency, just the way I like it.
Remember the young couple with the infant?, they asked if the restaurant had a microwave that could be used to warm up a baby bottle, and I overheard that they did not have one, which to me is a good sign because who wants to have food at a BBQ joint that could be nuked? but a nice thing here to was that Lee (the owner) warmed up the bottle for them, in a pot of water, kudos for that!
For the main course I picked the Elvis Combo platter which consists of 3 bones of side ribs, 1/2 lb. of Pulled Pork and 1/2 lb. of Wings along with a side of Slaw, Baked Beans Fries and more Corn Bread.
The Wings were very tasty with the Honey Garlic Sauce, they were cooked perfectly and tasted fresh.
The Ribs were side ribs and they were ok, though they did have more fat on them than I would like, I guess I prefer baby backs personally. I found the sauce to be tasty but maybe a bit generic, not bursting with flavour. I received 4 bones rather than the 3 advertised which was nice.
Pulled Pork was tender though maybe it could of been pulled a little finer some of the chunks were huge. Again I found the sauce to be only average which could be a little skewed since the last couple of months I have been reviewing some really fantastic BBQ Sauces that are explosions of flavour so this may be a decent sauce but it pales in comparison.
Very good Slaw that was just the right creamy crunchy consistency. And the Beans were above average with a few nice chunks of onion and it had a nice BBQ flavour, better than some others I have had in past few places.
Big Bone’s French Fries were a treat they were not greasy at all and had a nice coating on them.
The portions were so huge that even though I was hungry coming in I could not finish the Pork and Fries which I asked them to put in a doggie bag (though my dogs will not be getting it, that will be my lunch tomorrow!)
After my meal I introduced myself to Lee Rombos who with his brother Tim owns the restaurant. Lee was nice to allow me to take a picture of his Cookshack Smoker which at the time was loaded with Ribs (note only part way smoked at the time of this picture)
I talked with Lee for a few minutes and he told me that he and his brother had been in this for 20 years and used to vend at ribfests though he stopped doing that a few years back to concentrate on the restaurants.
The Newmarket Big Bones BBQ has been open since 2009.
Lee informed me that his restaurant has been doing a very steady business with out the need to advertise, he was thrilled by the top 5 list in Toronto Life and also the exposure the restaurant has been getting by the print media and social networking sites. I did a search on facebook and did not find a page for the restaurant or a twitter account. In this day and age I think that using twitter and facebook is a great way to grow a reputation and spread the word to more people.
My bill for the meal was $24.37 including tip (the soup was complimentary… thanks Lee )
Looking at the menu there are a lot of good looking dishes in a variety of prices so there is something that would fit in most people’s budgets.
Overall I was very pleased with the visit to Big Bones, the service was fine and the food was well prepared and appealing,
Big Bone even sells T-Shirts like the ones that the staff wear which on the back includes the suggestive slogan “Everybody likes a nice rack” which I think is just fine for a slogan.
Update June 28th 2011…..
I went back today for a quick lunch since I was again visiting a paper supplier in town.
I was there at 2:30 in the afternoon which would be right between the lunch and dinner crowds.
I had the Brisket Sandwich $8.95 along with some Fries and Gravy with an Ice Tea total bill for lunch was $12 something.
The Brisket sandwich was huge on I think an eight inch bun and overflowing with Brisket sliced thin and generous amount of sauce. their sauce is perfect for Brisket and the meat was tender and full of flavour, It could not of been any better, I wish I took a picture of the plate but my camera was at home. The house gravy for the fries was spot on and the meal came with 2 sides (Beans, and Slaw) The beans were fresh though the sauce on them was a little thinner this time, tons of flavour.
If your ever in the Newmarket area make sure you stop by this quaint little BBQ , it is well worth it!
Big Bone BBQ & Wicked Wings also has a Barrie Ontario Location that is a separately owned location not a franchise but does have the same menu.
You can go on-line and visit the Big Bone BBQ website for more information on both locations.