adamson bbq

Former customers of Adamson BBQ say they're never going to visit restaurant again

Adamson Barbecue has emerged over the past week as one of Toronto's most talked-about restaurants after defying provincial lockdown orders to open for indoor dining, again and again until police finally arrested owner Adam Skelly on Thursday.

Anti-masker types have been praising Skelly as a hero and using his Etobicoke restaurant as a rallying point. Elected officials and authorities have condemed his actions across the board, as have the vast majority of Toronto residents (and some business owners) on Twitter.

It seems as though everyone in the city has now heard of the controversial Texas-style BBQ joint, thanks to its central role in the ongoing anti-lockdown movement, but awareness doesn't necessarily equate to success.

In Skelly's case, there is such a thing as bad press, and his antics appear to be driving away loyal longtime customers for good.

"I'm a former Adamson customer and am disgusted by his behaviour - reluctantly, I am no longer going to patronize his restaurants," wrote one person in an email to blogTO, attaching a "dumpster fire" video that he generated featuring the Adamson Barbecue logo.

"I was a loyal customer — ordered for many family, work and church events," wrote another. "Never again. Your recklessness is shocking."

Despite actually enjoying the restaurant's product, some people are vowing never to order from Adamson again simply because of Skelly's attitude and apparent anti-lockdown mindset.

"I’ve had Adamson Barbecue before, and it's definitely delicious. But there are other barbecue places who are not selfishly spreading covid and trying to open despite city regulations," said one former customer on Twitter. "I'll be supporting other bbq from now on."

It's not only Skelly's politics pushing people away from his business, either.

All of the attention that his supporters have drummed up with their acrimony for public health regulations has helped shine a light on other unsavoury happenswithin the restaurant — or not happening, in the case of at least one DineSafe investigation.

"Imagine letting someone so anti public health, make you food," remarked one person on Twitter after Skelly announced his intentions to reopen for indoor dining last week.

"Sorry you've lost my business forever over COVID non-closure," wrote another. "Maybe you feel the same about health department standards too. Anyway, there's lots of BBQ choice in Toronto these days so no problem."

An online fundraising campaign has now generated more than $280,000 for Skelly's legal expenses, adding fuel to the fire and further alienating the entire community (save for BBQAnon conspiracy theorists.)

People are now threatening to boycott not only Adamson Barbecue, but all GoFundMe campaigns moving forward unless the service removes the fundraiser for Skelly from its platform.

The silver lining around all of this hate has been an outpouring of support for BBQ restaurants in Toronto that aren't owned by Skelly (ditto for GoFundMe campaigns raising money for anything other than Adamson Barbecue.)

"Let's start promoting BBQ places that have clean kitchens, a proper license and don't want to kill off their clientele," wrote one local on Twitter late last week. "My personal favourite is Cherry Street Bar-B-Que — their brisket is amazing!"

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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