10 of 52: The Stockyards
So a few weeks ago Merwin sends me a picture message of Fried Chicken he and his girlfriend were eating at Memphis Fire. It was a total trolljob as they only do Fried Chicken a few evenings of the week and I’ve never had a chance to try. After that, I’d been craving Fried Chicken. I didn’t want to sully myself by hitting up a fast food chain but didn’t know where to start the search. So off to Twitter I went and the response to “what’s the best fried chicken in Toronto” was overwhelming in the reply of The Stockyards.
The first thing you notice walking into The Stockyards is the amazing smell. It was slightly smokey and immediately made me think of BBQ. We were greeted by an amazingly friendly woman. First question: “Staying or going?” I think in some aspects they almost h0pe you’re getting take out. This venue is not built to hold a lot of people. We did a quick count and capacity looks to be 20 people. I’d hate to think about the wait time on a Sunday for Brunch. The line up must be out the door and pouring out onto the street. In any case, a couple guys had just got up so Merwin and I grabbed stools in front of all the grilling/frying action and got the ball rolling.
BBQ Brisket Sandwich – $12
Merwin ordered this sandwich. I have NEVER seen him eat so quickly in my life. He said the sandwich was amazing. They don’t make it too saucy, which I really appreciate as I’m not a fan of messy BBQ. The meat was tender and juicy but the baguette didn’t get soggy. The Stockyards use a pretty thick Garlie Mayo and Merwin said it worked perfectly in contrast to the tangy BBQ sauce. The sandwich looked really impressive and it’s on my radar if I ever return.
Sweet Potato Salad – $2.50
Merwin and I were discussing sides on the walk to The Stockyards. He’d mentioned Mashed Potatoes. We found out they don’t have them but our server suggested going with Potato Salad. I don’t think either of us expected such an interesting dish. Chopped Sweet Potato drizzled in a Buttermilk Ranch dressing and topped with chopped onion and bacon. I’m not generally a fan of Potato Salad but this tasted great and I’m glad I got in on some of it. The buttermilk ranch dressing made all the difference. This item wasn’t on the menu so I have no clue if they just whipped it up on the fly as a side. If you’re into Potato Salad it’s worth asking for.
Fried Chicken Dinner – $14
Now THIS is what brought me to the table. The Stockyards gives you four huge pieces of chicken in various cuts. There’s an X-Factor in the buttermilk batter that I couldn’t quite figure out and sadly didn’t ask. It actually tasted much like my Great Aunt used to make when I visit in the Caribbean. The batter was very crispy but the chicken was juicy. I was worried when I saw the batter that the chicken would end up dry but it worked perfectly. They put the chicken on what I could only call a King size mattress of Fries. Unfortunately I didn’t care for the fries at all. If I were to guess I’d say the batch was sitting a little bit. Considering flow of traffic I don’t know how that’s possible but in any case I wasn’t a fan. I mowed right through the amazing chicken but would recommend a different side.
Classic Coca Cola – $2.75
I’m a total sucker for Cola in bottles. I don’t know if it’s all in my head but I always feel that Cola tastes way better in glass than it does in a can or plastic. I noticed The Stockyards makes Limeade instead of Lemonade. I was going to gamble but elected to pass when I saw Coke in a bottle.
Most creative tip jar I’ve ever seen.
It took an hour long bus, a subway and a streetcar but I made it to The Stockyards and I was happy to do it. The Fried Chicken was exactly what I was hoping for and has set my the Fried Chicken Bar. Pretty sure I’ll never be able to go back to Popeyes (except for Biscuits) after eating here. The whole atmosphere from servers to cooks was very friendly. Everyone had a smile on their face and were happy to have a quick word despite working like crazy. Big shout outs to the cook Alison. She was an absolute machine working the grill and putting orders together. If you’re in the Bathurst & St. Clair West area then definitely take the time to hit up The Stockyards. I’ll definitely be back.