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Introducing: Smoke BBQ House, Harbord’s new no-nonsense barbecue joint

Owner Francesco Grandi and chef Tony Gallippi (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Harbord’s new Smoke BBQ House is the latest restaurant in Toronto dedicated to straightforward southern barbecue. Unlike places like Barque, which offer more elaborate presentations, Smoke serves the goods straight up, with the sauce on the side and a silicone brush to apply it with. First-time restaurateur Francesco Grandi, who still works at an ad agency by day, outfitted the formerly abandoned space with communal picnic tables and a big new picture window facing the street. In the kitchen is head chef Tony Gallippi, whose devotion to barbecue was cemented on trips to across the border to Detroit while he was running a restaurant in Windsor (Motor City, it turns out, has a surprisingly healthy barbecue scene).

Smoke’s menu contains the smoked classics you’d expect, like baby back ribs ($25), half chicken ($15) and Texas-style brisket ($15). There’s also a corned beef brisket ($12) which is brined for 48 hours, dry-rubbed and then smoked for 14 hours. Gallippi tells us they plan to rotate in a new sauce each month; the current selection includes a house mayo and a South Carolina–style apple cider vinegar–based number. For drinks, there are craft brews like Hop City’s Barking Squirrel, and Oliver Stern of the Toronto Temperance Society is putting the finishing touches on a cocktail list (expect plenty of bourbon).

Smoke BBQ House, 536 Manning Ave., 647-342-1840, smokebbqhouse.com

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