We’re all craving the delicious comforts of BBQ right now, and in their quest to get it to customers one spot has chosen to transform into a drive-thru rather than endanger lives by going against emergency orders.
Brickyard BBQ once operated as a dine-in restaurant with a bar, patio and banquet room, also doing catering and Ribfest. Chef Reuben Riley is behind the operation, with 30 years of cooking experience and a childhood in Jamaica where pit slow cooking laid the groundwork for an uncanny ability to replicate the pit barbecue style of the American South.
“We know that the citizens of Etobicoke love food and love their ribs. We saw them all summer long,” says Marianna Salandra, Social Media Manager and bartender at Brickyard BBQ.
“But as our customers kept coming for ribs even in the cold weather we started to feel bad that they were standing outside in the cold waiting for their food, with the weather being unpredictable we had to come up with an idea that would allow for our customers to keep warm, comfortable and safe all at the same time.”
Ribs are their specialty, but they also do chicken, jerk chicken and pulled pork. Plummeting temperatures and the closure of indoor dining had Brickyard BBQ trying to think of a way to get their food out without lines of customers getting too cold, and they opened their drive-thru on Nov. 27.
“It was a plan that would meet the needs of our close customers and ensure they were still getting their barbecue even in the cold. Our winter drive-thru is what is helping us keep the doors to our business open, and from the overwhelming response of customers this summer we knew they wouldn’t settle with takeout,” says Salandra.
“During the second lockdown we realized the drive-thru would be the best way to make contact minimal. Chef Reuben and his staff work hard to ensure everything is well sanitized, organized and have the least amount of contact possible.”
They’re not the first business in Toronto to transform into a drive-thru: Dairy Cream did something similar this summer, but for more unfortunate reasons than the cold. Greed for their popular ice cream made some customers behave so poorly it ruined the fun for everyone, and they had to stop walk-ups in favour of drive-thru only service.
Brickyard BBQ is open from Thursday to Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
“We admittedly had to think fast to ensure that we would still have a business after the pandemic was over,” says Salandra. “We cannot thank South Etobicoke enough for showing their support to our business.”