Saturday, November 1, 2014Light Snow 1°C
Restaurants

The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder

Posted by Charlotte Johnstone / Reviewed on July 1, 2009 / review policy

The Stockyards Smokehouse & LarderThe Stockyards is an unassuming new barbecue restaurant specializing in southern-style slow cooked meats that opened a couple of months ago on St Clair West, just west of Christie Street.
Stockyards Motif
The restaurant's narrow front is so inconspicuous that we almost walk right past it on the sweltering night that we stop by for dinner.

As it turns out, The Stockyards is geared towards take-out as restricted space doesn't allow for more than about ten people to be seated at a time.

Upon entering we're greeted with the divine smell of a griddle busy with custom-made burgers and pitchers of both the home-made mint-infused limeade and tropical fruit punch to sample.
Stockyards Stool
We help ourselves to the takeout menus as a steady stream of people file up to the counter and stroll out gleefully clutching smoky-marinade scented meat housed in bio-degradable containers.

The menu looks so good that between the three of us, settling on what to order feels like working out a treaty. Our indecisiveness dissolves when we spot an orange highlighter-macheted menu taped up next to the till. "That means we're out" our server grimly confirms as we regroup to pick from the five items left on the menu.
Stockyards Punch
Realizing that slowly marinaded meat can't be quickly replenished an hour before closing time on a busy day makes the situation more disappointing than annoying.
Stockyard SandwichI'm promised that the fried chicken is worth the 20 minute preparation time so we grab refreshing limeades and swivel stools while we wait.

My porchetta sandwich with sautéed rapini ($10.50) shows up first, served in an iron skillet. It takes me approximately one bite to decide that I'll be coming back to this place. A lot.

The mix of pork loin, crackling and belly gives the meat a perfect combination of textures from tender to crisp. The bitterness of the rapini offsets the fennel flavour of the meat and just enough garlic aioli stops the ciabatta bread from being remotely dry.
Stockyards BurgerMy friend's classic burger with fries ($9) ups the ante even more. As it was his second pick he wasn't particularly excited by it but the burger is thick, juicy and perfectly cooked. House made ketchup and mayonnaise make it even better and the fries are crisp without being brittle.
Stockyards ChickenThe Caprese sandwich ($9) is equally impressive. The melted mozzarella filling is smothered with tomato jam, basil and encased in warm ciabatta.
Pretty soon we're all switching skillets, keen to try everything coming out of the kitchen.

We're pretty full by the time the fried chicken combo ($12) arrives but the anticipation is so great that we go ahead anyway. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk for hours before cooking and it shows. The meat is unbelievably succulent while the batter stays crunchy and surprisingly light despite the oiliness.

Even someone that only ever orders chicken wings to chase beer pitchers should try the fried chicken here. It's really that good.

I'll definitely be back soon for one of the rib nights (currently limited to Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays). The whole pit smoked BBQ chicken special doesn't stand a chance.

Photos by Emma McIntyre

Discussion

53 Comments

Chris Fyvie / July 2, 2009 at 09:57 am
user-pic
The gloriousness of summer BBQ. Gonna check this out for sure! Thanks for the lead!
St. Clair Snacker / July 2, 2009 at 10:00 am
user-pic
The food at The Stockyards is great, but they're always out of half of the items on the menu but I think it's because they're new and they're trying to get a handle on their daily inventory. The service is awful. I've eaten there a few times now and the average wait for your food is about 30 minutes which is ridiculous for a take-out place. To top it all off, one of the owners who works the counter is really rude to the customers. Once they figure out how to expedite things in the kitchen and the owner realizes her attitude is better left behind the scenes, I think they'll have a great thing going for a long time to come.
local / July 2, 2009 at 11:12 am
user-pic
I ordered a caprese sandwhich and definitely didn't like it...but i LOVE their classic burger with cheese combo, their field green salads are nice and fresh....one of these days I'll try their fried chicken, and I don't eat pork, so ribs etc are out.
As for the service. It IS a long wait for food, but I usually call my order in in advance. On the days that I don't and have to wait I've been offered free lemonade, and iced tea...a testament to their service...to each their own, but my experience with the owners has been great. I passed by them one evening as I was walking southbound on christies, and they recognized me and said hello....it took me a while to figure out who was saying hi, but when I did, I thought it was neat that he'd remembered me from just one or two visits...I WILL be supporting this local business in the future.
me / July 2, 2009 at 11:16 am
user-pic
I hate when some place opens up and the Owner think their S**T doesnt stink. HOLY CRAP. you are in the Service Industry. Let go of all your demons and be available to the public.

As for take-out taking 30 minutes. that is NUTS.
Wonder if you call ahead if it would be ready in time?

I hate Toronto restaurants like this one. Like Bene Note. That treat staff, customers like s**T
sippy replying to a comment from me / July 2, 2009 at 11:50 am
user-pic
Nota Bene you mean? I've had nothing but a pleasant experience in the times that I've been there. And the food rocked.
Reality Check / July 2, 2009 at 03:42 pm
user-pic
The food sounds great, but I won't be going there any time soon. One of the least convenient places in the city to get to. St. Clair ruined, Bathurst screwed north of Dupont... Plus a menu that is only variably in stock.

I really don't see why they'd choose that area for a new restaurant, since the street isn't going to be getting better for a few years. They'll be in the dead pool soon thanks to poor location choice. Too bad.
Jonathan / July 2, 2009 at 05:10 pm
user-pic
Wowza - sounds tasty! I will bee-line for the burger, but that chicken and...well, it all sounds good ; P

jonathan@blogTO
b29 replying to a comment from Reality Check / July 2, 2009 at 07:19 pm
user-pic
you know, there are people that live along st clair too, right? it's not as if this place isn't surrounded by potential customers. and plus the rent is probably a lot cheaper around here than where there is perhaps more foot traffic and not all mucked up with construction, like college or queen.

but this stuff looks great. i saw the photo and thought "wow that looks good, i hope that is close by," and sure enough, it was for once!
Bubba / July 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm
user-pic
I live in Forest Hill and it's about time that a decent meat joint opened up, I miss Fatso's it used to be where the Pizza Pizza is now at Bathurst and St. Clair, they made great burgers and shakes! Can't wait to try the Stockyards out. I'll take a heifer please! Medium rare!
Z replying to a comment from Reality Check / July 3, 2009 at 12:57 am
user-pic
all of the things b29 pointed out are very, very valid. there are tons of residents near by.

In addition to that some of us like traveling all over the city. often we don't need a reason, but if we're going to have one good food would have to be it. i can honestly say i will go to this place soon, and i don't live anywhere near it.
Rachel / July 7, 2009 at 01:14 pm
user-pic
The food is fantastic- at least the fried chicken and pulled pork sandwiches are. They are very upfront with the 20 minute wait for the chicken and it even says so on the menu. I would gladly wait 20 minutes for a giant portion of fried chicken than take soemthing that's been sitting under a heat lamp, waiting for me to order it.
Portions are always huge and take-out is always piping hot. Staff are friendly but it's always busy in there, it's hard to get in the door sometimes, but take-out is usually ready in advance.
f'reals / July 20, 2009 at 11:35 am
user-pic
for all you haters out there:
This is REAL food!!! They have a small space, so they can't push a lot of product, but that can make sure that product is the best they can make (it is divine). Just because it is take out doesn't mean it should be fast (there is a Mc D's down the street if you need something fast). Not all good food takes time but fresh fried chicken and slowed cook meats???
I guess my point is across..
Judy replying to a comment from Bubba / August 6, 2009 at 04:24 pm
user-pic
Ahh Bubba, i used to love Fatso's...talk about taking me back!!!
i will def. go and give this a shot it can't be worse the Phil's Original.
J.T / November 25, 2009 at 08:32 pm
user-pic

Just tried this place for the first time yesterday and was very impressed! The smoked meat is perfectly prepared and just falls to pieces in your mouth! Delicious! The fries were just okay and the
slaw was definetley above average. The decor of the place finds a nice balance between city-slick and American deep-south hospitality. The staff is friendly and attentive. Will definitely
return.

Good Job!!!
Miriam / January 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm
user-pic
Those fries look so good beside that meat...ah my toast does not compare right now. :)
eroo / January 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm
user-pic
I went on the weekend and it was wonderful. The service was amazing and their house made drinks were so delicious and not too sweet. Great value too. The fried chicken is enough for two. They fry the chicken separately so if you suffer from a severe allergy, such as to fish, this place is one of the few out there where you can get your fried fix with no risk.
bb / March 24, 2010 at 05:50 pm
user-pic
Ok, I just came from said restaurant. It was my second time at The Stockyards after first trying their fried chicken a couple of months back. Well, the chicken was incredibly greasy (much more so than most places), and I thought the flavour of the chicken was overpowered by what ever combination of herbs and spices was used. Listen, I love my chicken and I avoid KFC (and a lot of the other name chicken shacks) to get to the real deal. I won't be having the chicken again. But I'm sad to say that the chicken was stellar compared to the absolutely terrible brisket sandwich I just had (half of which I had to throw out). My sandwich was drowned in so much sauce I couldn't taste anything else. I think it was all to hid the fact that the brisket was dry and tough, and I couldn't bite right through the sandwich without full pieces coming out of the bread. Ah yes, the bread... well, let's just say, bread+spread+sauce+au jus+MORE sauce=1 wet soggy baguette. Just the worst brisket I've ever had. That's 2 strikes Stockyards, I really want to try the ribs, but after my last TWO experiences they better be damn good. Sorry to be so mean but I just threw out half of an inedible sandwich and I'm not happy about it.
joe-e / March 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm
user-pic
Better add this to Gordons' Kitchen Nightmares list. He needs to step in there and bang a few heads around, starting with the rude owner!
Steph / April 4, 2010 at 09:16 pm
user-pic
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Went there last night. We got pulled pork, onion rings (best onion rings I've ever had) fries and coleslaw. Everything was delicious and all of the other stuff looked really good. I'm in the south a lot and this stuff is equally good as BBQ from the Carolina's. The owner stopped and talked to us and we had a short convo about BBQ. I can see how he comes off as rude but he just knows his BBQ. I can't wait for our next visit!
Chloe / April 12, 2010 at 04:55 pm
user-pic
This place is so good. Went there last week and it was great. The service was fine too. Only complaint is that its too expensive for their food. Their burger buns get soggy really quickly and its not worth the money.
zainab / November 12, 2010 at 03:21 am
user-pic
I've had food at nota bene several times...

it's they are trying way too hard... very very average... much better restaurants for the same price... try canoe or splendido...amazing food
zainab / November 12, 2010 at 03:21 am
user-pic
*it is like
ko / November 12, 2010 at 04:43 pm
user-pic
I went to Stockyard's after reading some great reviews & on the recommendation of a friend who said it was the "best burger he's ever had."

I was sorely disappointed. I had the cheese burger & I have never tasted a burger so salty! It was almost inedible. I figured it was a bad day with a cook a little heavy handed on the salt. So, I decided to give it another try this week. No go again. This time the burger was so dry and lacked even a hint of flavour.

One good thing I can comment on (which really surprised me after reading these comments) was how friendly the staff was! One girl in particular who was there both times I went was super helpful.


ps. @ zainab - this isn't the nota bene review, try elsewhere!
whatever / November 22, 2010 at 09:43 pm
user-pic
been here probably a dozen times since i first heard about it last winter. i've never had anything less than a great meal. the burgers, especially the specials, are amongst the best i've had in the city, hell, any city. the sandwiches were great too. i've only been for breakfast once but the corned beef hash with deep fried poached eggs was out of this world. all the staff have been really great as well, i don't have any idea where those complaints are coming from.
Soojala / December 15, 2010 at 10:38 am
user-pic
Once I went and their stove broke! So my friend and I were disappointed after the far travel just to try out Stockyards! So we went to Starbucks and came back to see if they fixed it within the hour.
And they did! Because they had to temporarily decline any orders, they offered the Fried Chicken Combo with two sides at the regular price of 12$. The owner really wanted to apologize for the delay (especially to these customers who were really snobby and pissed they couldn't be served) so he was serving everyone with the staff. He suggested sides (we got beans and dairy free mashed potatoes which were AMAZING), attending to the customers needs and really rude behaviours, and talked to my friend and I for a while. He was really sorry for the stove, and was extremely friendly and nice.
That man knows how to run a restaurant! If you want to have a pleasant meal- go to Stockyards and get the Chicken.You don't feel disgusting afterwards even though its deep fried!!
THEY KNOW HOW TO SERVE AND DELIGHT
lmnopq / January 25, 2011 at 12:09 am
user-pic
Have been meaning to try them (had assumed they were closer to The Junction), but have heard they are Pricey & Slow!?
...maybe I'll just stick with The Burger Priest AND "Five Guys Burgers" who just opened in Mississauga, and soon in Woodbridge. YES, I drive ALL OVER for Good Burgers!!!
Nick George / January 25, 2011 at 11:10 am
user-pic
Visited one day just before their dinner rush hour. The place was dirty, the ribs were stone cold, and the pulled pork sandwich was soggy, and tasteless. The fries were sogggy and cold. The ribs, pulled pork sandwich and ribs, overall woul d give a 5 out of 10. I do not know what is so special about this place, maybe commercial success has spoiled this once genuine operation.
Elaine / February 26, 2011 at 09:30 am
user-pic
I posted this on the discussion about TO's Best Burger, and since I have found my experiences at the Stockyard to be delightful, from the ringside seats that allow me to watch their crew in action to the food itself, I wanted to post the review here as well. We have since been back for the ribs (extraordinary, smoky and cooked to a perfect bone-gnawing state), the porchetta sandwich (thumbs up from my dining companion, who was jonesing for a taste evocative of NY's East Village popular takeaway joint, Porchetta), and double burger ordered by a friend called The Animal, which was a repeat item for him and which he found to be just as fantastic on his second time around. So, from a previous review...

Tonight I had an incredible burger at The Stockyard. You know how sometimes you'll feel too stuffed after chomping down? Well, I didn't. They were sold out of the ribs by the time we got there so we settled for the classic combo. I had mine with ALL the toppings (including cheese and smokey bacon, caramelized onion too but I am beginning to think that C.O. is not such a great topping for a smokey burger) and it was spectacular. You know how there is a moment in eating a burger that you know you can either put it down and make a big mess of things, or keep going? Yeah. That. I kept going. It was so good. Be warned though, the joint was hopping, and there is a constant din from the crowd with the song of the kitchen being constantly hollered out. I found the whole thing to be highly entertaining, as if I was right back in a kitchen and had never left the line. Great all round. We'll be going back for ribs for sure, we had a sample with their worcestershire/vinegary dipping sauce, and both were delish!
chrissy / May 23, 2011 at 05:13 pm
user-pic
i love, love, love stockyards! been there about five times, every time the food is perfect and service is always fast and super friendly! i'm bummed out people have had bad experiences! i've tried all their burgers and loved them all!
Dave / August 13, 2011 at 11:09 am
user-pic
I've been to Stockyards 3 times now. Each time for a different item from their menu. The first time was for ribs which were pretty average ... dry and lacking flavour, you had to add sauce in order for them to get tasty. I prefer caramelised sauce on them from being slowly smothered in sauce while on the rack, so I am somewhat jaded. Poo. Next was the fried chicken, which so far has been my fav item. I had it take out and got stuck in traffic, so it was not as crispy as I would have liked, but still was decent. Next time I'll have it there so I can fully appreciate the required crunch. Next was the infamous BBQ chicken. Gah. I have to say I was really disappointed. I grew up on southern BBQ and there are just some things you have to do right... this chicken may have been cooked slow but that's where it ends. The skin was rubbery, the rub was overpowering and mostly salty, and if it was cooked in a BBQ...well, that's got to be the crappiest BBQ ever and should be thrown in the lake. Overall, the place is better than Swiss Chalet and if the local Portuguese place is closed, I'll come back, but if I want real Southern BBQ, I'll still be crying in my milk waiting for my next trip down South.
Sean / September 1, 2011 at 01:09 pm
user-pic
Was there, Tuesday, August 30th, 2011. Ordered the ribs. "Not for another 15 minutes" I was told. So, I ordered a burger and ate there instead. They brought the ribs to the front 50 minutes later. Glad I ordered the burger but it was seriously undercooked.

Also, the guy making fries with his bare hands, coughing (horking kind) in his right hand and without hesitation, throws salt with his right hand on just-made-fries. Eww. Glad I didn't order fries. (What? No salr shaker? Was he trying to look cool before going back to school?)

Hope the owner trains his staff to wear gloves and if they get dirty or cough/hork in them, to quickly remove and trash the gloves, wash their hands and apply new gloves. THAT simple.

By law (city of Toronto) burgers MUST be cooked through, not medium rare that was served to me.

Customers see everything eating in the ktchen/prep area. Be very aware of that!

Will I go back there? No.
Mike P / December 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
I walked in with 2 friends at around 4pm and was greeted very snarkly and sarcastically by the cashier. A funky looking lady with a big poofy afro. She barked at us that the restaurant is closed and "didn't we see the sign" but the door was unlocked and i just witnessed people sitting down with full plates. She informed us that the place closes between 3:30 and 5:00 or something like that. Well thats great but maybe they could put a sign outside that says that instead of falsely attracting people to the doors then turning them away. It sucks cause it looks like a legit place with great meals but i probably won't be back. Definitly not if that same lady is working there.
Mike P / December 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm
user-pic
Just because you have a good/great internet rep doesn't mean you can treat patrons as disposable, we're the reason you have that great rep.
Roctop replying to a comment from Mike P / December 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm
user-pic
Sounds like the poofy clown needs to adjust her attitude. My friends and I will stay clear of this place until she is fired. Do you get that, manager?
JF / March 14, 2012 at 01:20 pm
user-pic
Like most Toronto places that start out with a bang, this place has gone downhill fast. Too bad, it was awesome at the start.

Had lunch there today, won't go back for a long while until I hear it is back on track. So inconsistent lately. Also the hostess / chick at the front is BEYOND ANNOYING. Please shut the F^&# up for 30 seconds. It's like stream of consciousness from a drunk teenager. Way too manic for normal human interaction.

Had the burger, took way too long for having 6 people there, very overcooked and the usual mountain of fries 4 people could eat was barely enough for a kid.

Ease up on the attitude and get back to basics.

Also, anyone noticed it's all new cooking staff every time you go? Not a surprise.
kermit / March 16, 2012 at 03:31 pm
user-pic
does this place have any deals?
Cole / June 6, 2012 at 02:32 pm
user-pic
No idea what the earlier reviewers are talking about. The service was satisfactory and our waiter was very friendly. The food was excellent (best pulled pork I've ever had) and generously portioned. Prices were quite reasonable for specialty items, considering true BBQ is pretty hard to find in Toronto.

Best of all, we went at lunch time and there was enough seating available for us and the food came very promptly. Dinner may be a different story, as I hear it gets quite busy.

I'd definitely recommend this place!
Chris / June 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm
user-pic
This review is retarted. The article is on best ribs in toronto. They have all these pics of food from this place except for the ribs???
Sergio / August 9, 2012 at 08:31 pm
user-pic
My first experience was about two months ago. Had the fried chicken. Absolutely amazing. Service was good overall. As for one above comment about Toronto law about cooking a burger....I suggest you go check that out again. First off, anything beyond medium is over cooked. And that's not a preference thing. With that said, if a food establishment grinds beef in house they aren't required to destroy their burgers by over cooking them.
gadamz / December 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm
user-pic
Paid $50 for three burgers, three fries, and three pops for Take-out. C'mon now. Tasted good, but not that good for that price.


A / December 9, 2012 at 05:59 pm
user-pic
The brisket was decent. The fried chicken was uneatable as far as I'm concerned.

The staff was really nice though.

I probably will not be going back.
Martha / December 19, 2012 at 08:16 am
user-pic
Got the double burger and butter burger there last night. Ordered ahead and it was ready in the 10 minutes it took me to get up there. So it seems they have definitely worked out any kinks they may have had regarding timing.
The staff helping me was really nice and lovely. Both on the phone and in person.
Then we got home and ate the burgers. Delicious. The meat was so tasty I didn't even care what my toppings were. Which were good as well - I love blue cheese on a burger. I will definitely go back. Super filling as well.
Anon / March 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm
user-pic
Got half a rack of ribs here once and they were phenomenal. I devoured them within minutes. I got there at 4:50pm (they opened at 4:45) and at around 5:20, there was an announcement that there was a countdown on the greens of the day and the smoked chicken. Ten minutes later, they announced they were out of both. This place is crazy-busy and for good reason! I can't wait to go back.
Anthony / March 25, 2013 at 08:18 pm
user-pic
wow
Ronan / July 26, 2013 at 09:22 pm
user-pic
I went there today for my birthday and i wasn't impressed at all. I had the fried chicken which was so greasy and most of the coating had fell off and the little that remained was quite bland. There was more staff in the place than customers (we were there at about 2pm) but still they had my order done and it was left sitting for about 10mins before the waitress brought it to me so the fry's were cold. My wife had the pulled pork which was just meh, not bad but not great. The best thing i had there was the dark cherry pop. All in all i found this place disappointing after reading all the great reviews here.
Vizjhery / January 25, 2014 at 01:31 pm
user-pic
My girlfriend and I went here and ate the waffles and chicken. It was really tasty and unique. The service was great and you get to watch the chefs cook while you eat. It was also very fast and we got our food quickly.
Rude waitress / February 6, 2014 at 03:21 pm
user-pic
Went here on one of the rib nights but unfortunately the ribs were sold out. Whatever I got there after 8 so I wasn't mad about that. What turned me off was the short haired blonde that served us. She must of had a bad day because she was charged up with bitchy attitude! Me, my guest and the man sitting next to us were treated like garbage for no reason! I've been here many times so I know that the rest of the staff here are awesome. If this was my first time I would never go back!
john / June 17, 2014 at 09:05 pm
user-pic
Went there today had a brisket sandwich , it was tuff, asked the cook why it was tuff he said it was the cut of meat , NEVER had tuff brisket, the pulled pork and the 2 burgers were horrible, and place is dirty don't know how it passes inspection
Melanie / July 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm
user-pic
I agree with previous comments that mentioned that the staff is really rude, especially the guy at the counter. The food was good but not worth putting up with the attitude of the staff, especially when there are many restaurants out there that serve food that is so much better.
Jay / August 17, 2014 at 09:21 pm
user-pic
Had their burger. Was fine, but one of the best? Maybe one of the best in Toronto but that is not saying much. In contract, I still remember my trip to In & Out burgers in L.A. - so good I got a second one, and the milkshake was of the charts too. I'll go back to try the fried chicken and ribs - again, lauded as best or one of the best in the city, but not taking any high expectations. Will try Burger Priest and Holy Chuck too.
Talentscout / August 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm
user-pic
This is about chicken ? Where are the comments about chicken...Not Impressed... I don't want a burger or pork sandwich but know about their chicken....NOT impressed..
natalie / September 21, 2014 at 04:06 pm
user-pic
Honestly... The food was average... But that isn't my biggest complaint is WATCHING SOMEONE WITH DIRTY FINGER NAILS HANDLE FOOD!!! Ughhhhhhh disgusting.
vince replying to a comment from Reality Check / October 23, 2014 at 11:19 pm
user-pic
Couldn't help but laugh at the comment by "Reality Check". "They'll be in the dead pool soon"- I know this comment is from years ago, but it's worth pointing out that this place is a money making machine. It's never NOT busy. Still haven't been, but my family loves it.

Add a Comment

Search

Find a restaurant

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a restaurant in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.

Reviews

Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:


Loading...
Other Cities: Montreal