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Lou Dawg's Southern Sandwiches

Posted by Devon Scoble / Reviewed on May 31, 2009 / review policy

Lou Dawg's TorontoLou Dawg's has a curiously rustic menu. Specializing in meat, other kinds of meat and more meat, this newish King West sandwich joint is not the place to take vegetarian friends or fancy people.

Who should go to Lou Dawg's? Diners who like the taste of campfire--not liquid smoke, or chemically fabricated hickory zest--but genuine, smoky, "I hate white rabbits" campfire flavour. The taste is so authentic that I had to smell my jacket 30 minutes after leaving, surprised I wasn't carrying the tell-tale effluence.

Despite Toronto's recent carnivore craze, Lou Dawg's is only the second smoke house to open downtown (the other is Phil's). Spacious and tavern-dark, Lou Dawg's is decorated in wood-plank panels and a stone facing that reminds me of a Bruce County highway, a jagged square hewn through limestone peninsula, and a sure path to campgrounds, cottages and, of course, BBQs.

Lou Dawg's looks and feels like a mid-range family dining establishment, so I was surprised to discover they'd opted for counter service instead of full-service dining. I was equally astonished by the quick delivery of my meal: barely had my lunch friend and I started chatting before the waitress was calling our names.

We ordered a Pulled Pork Sandwich ($6), Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich ($8), Garden Salad ($3), Blackbean Corn Salad ($3) and Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffin ($2). Unfortunately there were no muffins on hand, but our friendly staffer quickly offered a replacement (Meaty BBQ Beans-$3)--with no quibbles over the extra $1.

Both sandwiches were big enough to feed an average lunch eater, unless this average lunch eater was a) determined to have some veg with every meal and b) a glutton. Since I'm both, I shelled out the extra moola for sides, compromising my Cheap Eats lunch rules ($10 or less for a full lunch, $15 and under for dinner) but satisfying my (now distended) belly.

The Pulled Pork Sandwich was perfect: soft, smoky, and smothered in a sweet, slightly piquant house-made sauce. I would recommend this sandwich to any pulled pork aficionado, although I won't order it again myself. One bite of Lou Dawg's Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich had me hopelessly devoted like a prom queen to the high school badass: it smokes, it's saucy, and I know it's bad for me, but it's also unbearably tender. I'm smitten, and can't imagine choosing any other sandwich. Lou Dawg's

Rounding out the cast of flavours, the Blackbean Corn Salad came dressed in Chipotle Lime Sauce, giving refreshing contrast to heavy meat mains. Meaty BBQ Beans followed the theme of the sandwiches, and were rich, tender, and (surprise!), smoky. The Garden Salad was super fresh, but curiously covered in a Smokey Balsamic Dressing that was a bit too acidic and, well, smoky. A lighter contrast to the mains would've been nice, but I don't suppose it matters all that much, since meat is the feature at Lou Dawg's, and the meat is amazing.

Lou Dawg's has been open for just a few weeks, but if they continue producing this level of quality BBQ, I'm sure they'll manage to keep the home fires burning for a long, long time.Lou Dawg's King West



MattyC / May 31, 2009 at 04:19 pm
Is this in the spot where Artik used to be? The t-shirt printing place.
Chester Pape / May 31, 2009 at 07:54 pm
The missus had lunch there Friday, the verdict, Black Camel has nothing to fear but it's decent, nice portions and a side of cole slaw is only a loony.
Chester Pape / May 31, 2009 at 07:54 pm
By the way, the name, in a word, sucks
Doug / May 31, 2009 at 08:34 pm
By the way, who benefits from your opinion on the name?
Great food, great vibe.
John Leschinski / May 31, 2009 at 08:58 pm
They feed the crowds at WordCamp this year. Loved their ribs and their salad dressings were pretty good too.
Brian / May 31, 2009 at 10:14 pm
It looks like they are next door to King West Kitchen, south side of the street.
Sean / June 1, 2009 at 01:11 am
Why is this not the place to take vegetarian friends? They drag me in to their restaurants. It's high time to bring them to a real restaurant that looks like they have yummy sandwiches! Bring your fancy friends too. Tell them to loosen up a little.

Love their music on the website, still, can you please post the hours under the address and phone number?

I can't wait to go! Thanks for the story.
foghorn leghorn / June 1, 2009 at 08:44 am
i say! i say! went yesterday night. both the brisket and pulled pork could have been a bit more tender - still had a bit of chewy consistency that you don't expect from either, but not enough to detract from the overall sandwich. the sides were well above par, but then just like you don't go to a korean restaurant for the banchan, you don't go into a smokehouse for the bbq beans.
LS / June 1, 2009 at 09:53 am
I've been wondering when you'd be reviewing this place.

My boyfriend and I have eaten there several times, hoping to get a consistent meal - which has been a giant FAIL.

I even sent them an email, hoping to get a reply.
Which I didn't.

"So, we've been to your place 3 times now - living on Brant at King, it's extremely convenient!

- why are you putting that yucky red 'powder' all over the fries now?
It doesn't add anything to it - and the fries were better before - nice and Simple.
- potato salad: the potatoes need to be cut up smaller. I have dietary restrictions, and cramming half a potato in my mouth gets seriously clogged in my throat.
And cutting them up before eating is such a hassle.
- get the sizing down. We've ordered a 'LARGE' fries every visit, and every visit, they're in a different container.
Last night, it was in the same SMALL container that the small potato salad we ordered came in ...
Why? Did we just get the wrong order? (we paid for a large - double checked the receipt)"

We haven't been back since.

However, one thing they haven't put on the menu, which you MUST try, are the CHICKEN WINGS.
chenyip replying to a comment from foghorn leghorn / June 1, 2009 at 11:47 am
Sure you do. Baked beans is very much a part of southern barbecue. That's like saying you don't go to a taqueria for guacamole.
Devon replying to a comment from Sean / June 1, 2009 at 03:09 pm
This is not the place to bring vegetarian friends because there's very little they can eat here. You might not like being dragged to vegetarian restaurants, but you chances are you can eat everything on the menu.

Getting fancy friends to loosen up: now that's an idea I can support!
eve / June 1, 2009 at 08:46 pm
Tried the pulled chicken for lunch 'cause they were outta porc. It was okay, but i wouldn't go back. There are are better options with more atmosphere. And the sauce has an artificial-flavouring aftertaste that lasted all afternoon.

Ned / July 23, 2009 at 01:48 pm
I just tried Low Dawg's brisket last night and all I can say is it makes me miss Cluck, Grunt & Lowe even more :(
Judy / July 27, 2009 at 05:28 pm
I tried Lou Dawgs last monday and I thought it was very tasty. I agree with LS as I would have liked the option not to put the red spice on the fries it ruined it for me and I didn't eat them. The sauce was fantastic thick and tasty, I love the fact that they have a dispenser on the side so you can add more... mmmmm
I ordered the cole slaw and I thought it lacked flavour, I want a simple cole slaw no raisins/cranberries no nuts just a good tasting add on..
Lou Dawg's / November 10, 2009 at 01:10 pm
Hi Everyone,

First off, I would like to apologize in my tardiness to replying to your posts. At lou Dawg's - customer feedback is absolutely critical - and I wanted to take a minute to let you know that we have listened to your feedback - and made some recent changes in order to improve our service, consistency and quality.

So - after reading the posts above - here are some of the changes/comments I'd like to share with you:

- Vegetarians Welcome!!! At some of the festivals we participated in this year (jazzfest, edgefest, queen west art fest) - we had an unbelievable response to our Veggie Wrap... so we've added it to the menu!! For $6, you will get: A fresh wrap stuffed with blackbean corn salad w/ Chipolte lime dressing, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and our delicious home made creamy bbq mayo.

- Food Quality - Our executive chef sean smith will now be working open to close at our restaurant... this will improve quality and consistency - and will offer dinner specials and other nice touches such as fresh baked apple pie for desert!

- FRESH CUT FRIES!!! (WITHOUT THE ``Yucky red spice``) Both our fries & Sweet potato fries are now fresh cut in house... they are so delicious - that they don`t need seasoning at all! Try them out!

- Small portions! My apologies for this, a little bit of trial and error here but we`ve changed our in-house packaging... and will be moving to baskets to serve our food. This will improve the presentation as well as the portions.

- Potato salad - now cut smaller to accomodate dietary restrictions.

Thank you again for all of your feedback... as a new restaurant, we can`t possibly improve without it.

Feel free to contact me directly anytime at

Lou Dawg's / November 10, 2009 at 01:13 pm
Oh... one more thing... we have updated the website with our hours of operation as well as a map of our location.... and we`ve had an amazing response to our baked bbq meaty beans... so if you have a chance - please try it out and let me know what you think!

Franny Beez / January 13, 2010 at 11:20 pm
The best damn sweet potato fries I've ever had.
And the ribs, mmmmmmmmm, now that's some good sauce!!
Lou Dawgs 4 life :)
Bambini33 / April 22, 2010 at 02:51 pm
I looooooooove the fish sandwich - YUMMMMMMY! :)

Sometimes the music is a bit loud...I'd like to talk to my dinner date once in a while ;) Although I guess we could just talk in body language!
Lorraine / May 31, 2010 at 04:57 pm
I discovered Lou Dawgs the other day and was pleasantly surprised. Very authentic. I had the beef brisket sandwich which was mouth wateringly delicious and the sweet potato fries were heavenly with chipotle mayo. My husband had the pulled pork and meaty beans and couldn't stop talking about it all weekend. A little on the fatty side, but good for a splurge. We will definitely be back!
C / June 24, 2010 at 10:12 am
Being a pulled pork fan, decided to try this place last night. Totally mediocre. Both the Victory and Lakeview have far tastier pulled pork sandwiches, and neither of those venues is trying to be a BBQ champ. The service was good, but I won't be returning.
Gerry / August 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm
I have become a self-professed meat snob over the last few years and Lou Dawgs is definitely up there on the list of top BBQ places in the city for one reason: The Beef Brisket. The beef brisket from Lou Dawgs is the best brisket I have ever had by a landslide. It's smoky, it's savory, it's saucy and it just melts in your mouth.
Another key side-dish to a top-of-the-line BBQ place in my opinion has to be its beans and the beans from Lou Dawgs do not disappoint. Though, they are not the best in the city but they are meaty, smoky and loaded with flavour and I would definitely recommend trying them at least once.

In response to previous posters, I have also had the pulled pork from Lou Dawgs and it is honestly not great and after having the brisket sandwich there is no reason to order anything else on the menu.

I have not had the ribs or wings but trust me, after having the brisket, you will not need to try anything else at Lou Dawgs
YacozA / August 18, 2010 at 07:16 pm
Went tonight, had the brisket and I agree with Gerry, it is one of the best in the city.
The fries were also good, haven't had them since before they eliminated the red-powder, must say that they were also amazing, and I have been left full.

Overall a great experience, good food, nice staff, quick service.
claire / September 16, 2010 at 04:33 pm
This place is great! We had really great service and the brisket was amazing!! ( and I have had some good brisket). Try the dry rub wings too! I will definitely be back!
mr. hood / November 13, 2010 at 05:36 am

just ask for the brisket po boy style, and win!

smoked turkey wrap is great too, ribs ok, wings good, but need to be separated, not drum and wing still together..

they need a rotisserie fired with applewood, and spit roasted chicken and wings... smoking everything gives it the same flavours, with sauces to hide that fact.
Mira / December 11, 2011 at 03:52 am
Unfortunately I got access to the kitchen and saw mice traps, flies sitting on the uncooked fries and big pales of uncovered bbq sauce open and on the floor right next to the garbage can. Who knows how many mice or flies dropped in the bucket of sauce. Also a nasty fly trap strip cover in flies that must have been there for awhile. I could also skate across the floor cause it was soooo greasy. Seeing this made me investigate.
Please check out this link;ESTABLISHMENT_ID=10351000

You will never eat there again. I WILL NEVER EAT THERE AGAIN!!!

Ps. The fact that I get sick after I drink the draught beer says alot. They dont clean their draught lines either !!!
vick / April 6, 2012 at 02:34 am
Awful food and horrible service!!!!
Al / July 3, 2012 at 01:06 pm
I was sorely disappointed by this establishment. They had a temporary stand on the street, for the Pride festivities. I purchased one pulled pork sandwich but immediately changed my mind due to hygiene concerns. I asked for my $7 back, but the man (a chubby mixed race guy) refused to do so, telling me to enjoy my sandwich and no refund would be provided. I insisted, he still refused. I walked away slamming the sandwich onto his table. I would not recommend this place due to poor customer service and hygiene. My $7 will only make them so much richer.
John / August 10, 2012 at 11:17 am
lol, buddy, if you are so unhinged and angry that you just slam the sandwich down when someone says "no" to you, AND you brag about it later, then I'm going to go ahead and assume you were probably a dick to him to begin with.

Why would you think once someone has handed you food that you can just return it? Do you think that they can go ahead and serve that sandwich to someone else now? Do you think if you went to a hotdog vendor and he handed you a hotdog and you said "wait I want a refund" you'd get it?

Anyway thanks for pointing out he was a mixed race guy, and chubby, I am sure that will help any of your fellow racists to make their decision on whether or not to go there!
GranVizeer replying to a comment from John / August 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm
Hey, Johnny, did you rush over and pick up that smashed sandwich? Was it good? I guess not because you sound kinda sicko.
John / August 10, 2012 at 01:37 pm
Umm, good one?
p / April 7, 2013 at 09:18 am
have eaten there many times, enjoyed it and will continue to, but I really wish they'd get new buns. They're tough and chewy. pulled pork/chicken should be on a soft bun.
Lambos / April 10, 2013 at 11:34 pm
Bought lunch for the crew here when on Adelaide place. YUM
Jug City / April 9, 2014 at 08:56 pm
Not sure what positives one could take from this place. maybe the fries? the sandwiches et al are insanely greasy, heavy, and overall don't taste great.

If you love that feeling of a huge brick slowly rotting through your insides as it eventually makes it's way out of you in an explosive fashion, by all means, enjoy!

or go to black camel.
Iliana & Sergey's Palette / March 10, 2015 at 04:30 pm
"The experience made for a very heavy lunch, maybe that was the reason for not having a lot more people visiting for lunch? Not every company will allow you to take an after-meal nap at your desk - a very southern approach. Nachos might have been a better options for us."
"As southern cuisine goes, the only veggies we had came in bottles of sauces on the table - to be expected though."
These are just a few bites of our review.
Read our full experience:

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