One of Toronto's newest barbecue spots has only been open for a few weeks and has already generated buzz around the city. From the founder of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken, Jordan Harasinski Gillis has launched his newest concept based around the nostalgic feeling of camping, outdoors, adventure and fun. He teamed up with Folly Brewing's Andrew Smyka to create a menu that would allow him to push out barbecue classics as he remembers them.
Having just opened on January 24, the menu is still relatively fresh, with the main focus currently on smoked brisket sandwiches with simple sides as accompaniments. They wanted to focus on one thing at a time and perfect it before moving onto other barbecue classics. "There's definitely room for this to grow, and we're excited for things to come in the future," says Gillis.
Camp Smokehouse is operating out of the Freeplay Arcade right now. The space is a long narrow venue with retro-themed arcade machines lined along the wall. There are some tables along the adjacent wall, but currently idle due to the ongoing health crisis. Once fully opened, there will be the allure of nostalgic games and some picnic tables outside for dining.
The menu at Camp Smokehouse is modest as the singular focus is on AAA-grade beef brisket, sourced locally and smoked with North Bay Ontario oakwood. The seasonings on the brisket are a simple blend of salt and pink peppercorns.
In line with the camp theme, The Sleeping Giant sandwich is aptly named after one of Ontario's most beautiful iconic landmarks (potentially since both conjure a feeling of surreal awe). The massive sandwich comprises AAA-grade smoked brisket, nestled on a brioche bun and topped with house brined pickles and a custom mustard sauce. The pickles are a bit mellow in flavour but still add a sharpness to the sandwich that helps with the brisket's smokiness.
The Mess Hall sandwich, which harps back to camp cafeterias' communal buzz, is precisely how this sandwich should be labeled. This smoked brisket sandwich is accompanied by a heaping of coleslaw and a zesty apple barbecue sauce. The sweetness from the sauce and the crunch of the slaw contribute to a memorable sandwich experience.
Weiners and Maple Beans is a camping classic so it was a welcome addition to the menu.
The smoked fries are a creative take on the side where the fries are infused with the smokey flavour before being deep-fried.
The Camp S'mores are a favourite of the Camp Smokehouse team and is the classic combination of torched marshmallows, melted chocolate bars and graham crackers.
Jordan Harasinski Gillis, Andrew Smyka and Adrian Iwankewich pictured above.
Camp Smokehouse is located at 300 College Street at the Freeplay Arcade. They are currently only open Sundays, but there are plans to extend hours of operation and additions to the menu in the future. You can pre-order directly from their website, but be sure to do so early as they have sold out every weekend they have opened thus far.