Toronto Gold Stars is a blog series that focuses on the new or obscure locations in Toronto. As a business, we’re dedicated to delivering the best service and prices for our clients, but we’re also committed to helping them know our city! Every few weeks, we set out to explore the nooks and crannies of our city to uncover hidden gems and other well-kept secrets. Imagine it as urban prospecting—our way of finding the hidden gold stars of our city and sharing it with you all!
While we’ve made it into the middle of Fall and temperatures have already started to plummet, it’s no reason to stop anyone from enjoying a good ol’ fashion barbecue! Although Big Crow BBQ has been around for the last five years, it’s still a hidden gem in many ways, in both a literal and figurative sense. Nestled in an obscure alleyway behind Rose & Sons, a simple little diner at 176 Dupont Street, is what appears to be a large smokehouse cabin planted right in the middle of the Annex neighborhood. Inside is a surprisingly homely and well-lit interior, with rows of lights overhanging a set of long wooden tables. A busy kitchen on the far end of the restaurant wafts in the enchanting scent of seared meat and keeps the place warm like a cozy fireplace, while diners sit to enjoy drinks and barbecued food.
Both Rose & Sons and Big Crow were founded by Anthony Rose, a local restauranteur who’s known by many Torontonians as the “King of Comfort Food”. Considering what’s served at Big Crow, that title is well-deserved. While it may have the look and feel that’s reminiscent of just another dine-in pub, it’s the grilled and smoked menu that sets Big Crow from other joints. With mouth-watering picks like grilled steak, smoked chicken drums and of course, barbecued back ribs, this is the type of place you’d want to bring your non-vegetarian friends to.
With hefty portions served over large, picnic style tables, Big Crow is a place where food is meant to be shared amongst friends, and the restaurant’s signature baby back ribs are living proof. Served with tangy barbecue sauce, pickled pear and a generous slathering of sage walnut pesto, the full sized portion was quickly picked apart by our team.
The restaurant is cleverly designed to adapt to Toronto’s temperamental weather, so that everyone can enjoy a nice cookout all year round. Cozy and cabin-like in the Fall and Winter, Big Crow easily converts into a patio like setting during the warmer months, giving guests and authentic, backyard barbecue session.
The next time you pass by the Rose & Sons on Dupont, be sure to check out the narrow alleyway next to it! A large painted arrow will be there to illluminate the trail to this hidden gold. If all else fails, just look for the giant crow mural, or follow the smell of barbecue!