earlscourt bbq toronto

Popular Toronto BBQ joint that had a fire just before the pandemic finally reopens

A BBQ joint that had a fire right before the pandemic has reopened its doors at long last, after being temporarily closed for over a year and struggling with last-minute delays that have kept them closed for additional months.

Earlscourt BBQ owner Jason Rees told blogTO in February that the restaurant would reopen in March "come hell or high water," but unfortunately right before they were about to open, they discovered the fire alarm didn't work in their unit.


It took their landlord and Redi-Fire more than eight weeks to figure out the issue, getting new permits and doing inspections.

As of this past Monday, however, their fire system has been certified.

"It's been a whirlwind to get up and running for Friday," Rees tells blogTO. "I haven't even had a chance to get beer on our takeout menu yet."

Earlscourt is reopening with a menu of the classic BBQ dishes they're known for as well as meal kits, available for scheduled touchless pickup with an online payment system.

"We increased the size of our Pitmaster Platter, since leftover BBQ is always great," says Rees.

"Our patio will open as soon as Toronto allows it, and CafeTO appears to have a nice side street curb lane patio in their draft drawing for us to augment our existing patio."

Though these are the things people will be able to experience from the outside as the restaurant springs back to life, the major improvements are actually all somewhere they can't see: the kitchen.

It's equipped with all new stainless steel, an epoxy floor, an optimized layout, a tankless water heater and a more powerful new exhaust hood that will make the restaurant less smoky.

"I'm sure that will make some people happy and others sad," says Rees.

"We have a regular customer that keeps a set of clothes in his garage to change in and out of, as to not go home smelling like BBQ and alerting his family he was there without them enjoying some smoked meat and craft beer."

Welcome back, Earlscourt; BBQ lovers, get your garage clothes ready.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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