“The pulled pork donuts are killer,” says Chef Jim Renaud.
Serving interesting menu items like pulled pork donuts, Snackbar-B-Q has food lovers flocking to this unique Downtown Windsor eatery. From unique flavourful BBQ food and specialty craft cocktails, to interesting decor and an ultra hip vibe, it’s obvious local restaurateur Mark Boscariol and Chef Jim Renaud dissected every detail of their business plan before bringing Snackbar-B-Q to life.
The moment customers enter it becomes obvious this is no ordinary BBQ place. In fact, you’ll even find something on the menu for vegetarians too. “We didn’t want to be just another BBQ place catering only to meat lovers, we wanted to be vegetarian and gluten free friendly as well,” says Renaud.
Launched in December, Boscariol and Renaud put a lot of time and work getting ready for opening day.
Chef Renaud says, “we’ve been here since August first, I’ve had my hands on just about everything in here, from cleaning and waterproofing, to ripping down just about every wall and rebuilding them from scratch. You can now see all the way through to the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s been a lot of work but I’m pretty proud of this place, there’s something going on in every inch of the restaurant wherever you look. On our first night people were wandering around looking at things like our custom made beer tap handles.”
Some of the unique beer tap handles include, a drum stick, knife handle, rolling pin, and a vintage hand crank egg beater. The colorful Southern BBQ theme murals painted on the walls also attract a lot of attention. On the back wall a bicep flexing pig wearing overalls grins. The side wall features a pig wearing a top hat and sunglasses while smoking a cigar and holding a glass of wine. On yet another wall a Star Wars Stormtrooper, wearing a red baseball cap, cooks a hamburger over a makeshift R2-D2 BBQ. Located behind an old fashioned jukebox, a nostalgic wall made of cassette tapes is an attention grabber.
Months of research went into every single item on the Snackbar-B-Q menu. Special attention was even given to the buns used. “I spent a couple of weeks deciding on something as simple as what bun to use,” says Renaud, “we travelled to places like Toronto trying different bun and meat combinations at tastings. I think we’ve got something good with our burgers and sandwiches.”
Although the menu was created months before opening, Chef Renaud along with his Kitchen staff did a lot of tweaking to the menu. “Even right up to a couple of days before printing the menu, I removed a couple items and replaced them with others,” explains Renaud.
Not only did a lot of research go into creating the menu but a lot of effort goes into preparing many of the items available.
A two day process results in delicious House Fried Pork Rinds topped with maple-bacon salt. “We boil the pork rind for two hours followed by draining the water, cooling, cutting, and drying it out overnight in the oven just to get what looks like a simple dish on the plate,” says Renaud.
Preparing the Pulled BBQ Beef Cheek for the restaurant’s sandwich, topped with smoked Gouda, grilled onions, and horseradish mayo, takes time too. “We smoke the beef cheeks, cover them with water and braise them in the oven. There’s a lot of steps in putting some of these food items together,” explains Renaud.
Traditional BBQ lovers will enjoy savoury items from the smoker like St. Louis ribs, petite beef tenderloin with smokey jus (gravy), chicken thighs or legs, and pulled pork. Chef Renaud puts creative twists on menu items like the Porknado Burger featuring an all bacon patty topped with bacon infused jalapeno peppers, pulled pork, and charred pineapple mayo.
Part of what makes this restaurant different is that vegetarians will find a selection of fresh and smoked Southern style vegetable dishes. The Smoked Tofu Sammi (sandwich) is topped with tomato, onion, black-eyed pea hummus, garlic sauce, and arugula. Other options include the Texas Cobb salad, Colorado Green Vegetarian Chilli, and Blackened Cauliflower.
Snackbar-B-Q Sauces are handmade in house featuring savoury selections like the Carolina Sauce, Texas Lone Star Sauce, and Chipotle & Chocolate Base House Sauce. Chef Renaud’s unique Alabama White Sauce is a definite must try.
The dessert menu features interesting items like Pulled Pork Beignets (donuts) topped with blueberry syrup, and an enormous ice cream s’mores sandwich.
Ingredients used at the restaurant are locally sourced from Ontario with plans to bring in more from the Windsor Essex area when selections are more in season. “You’ll see a lot more Essex county products as we increase our weekly features,” says Boscariol.
Everything on the menu is a la carte for an affordable $10 or less. The idea is to get customers to customize their meals, try different foods, and to share with each other, hence the menu heading “Share Plates”.
Boscariol and Renaud along with front of house staff put a lot of thought into Snackbar-B-Q’s wine selection (made up of Ontario and Essex County wines), specialty cocktails, and bourbons. They’re also very proud to serve Ontario Craft Beers on tap. “I’m a huge craft beer fan,” says Renaud, “we serve only Ontario Craft Beers and nothing from The Beer Store.”
Some restaurants operate their kegs and beer system right from behind the bar but Snackbar-B-Q’s narrow bar made this impossible. Determined to serve craft beer, one of the restaurant’s biggest investments was installing a brand new beer system. “Getting the beer to go from the cooler in the back, through the ceiling and behind walls to the bar was a lot of work and had to really be planned out,” says Renaud.
On opening day some of the Ontario Craft Beers on tap included brands from Walkerville Brewery, Beau’s Brewery, Railway City Brewing Company, Mill Street Brewery, Highlander Brew Company, and Descendants Beer & Beverage Company.
Hip to emerging trends Snackbar-B-Q offers a selection of specialty drinks thanks to the comeback of classic craft cocktails. In fact, Windsor native Matt “The Whisk(e)y Chef” Jones spent some time training the restaurant’s bartenders. Jones, a Whisky Ambassador at Beam Suntory (owners of Canadian Club), travels the nation educating consumers and trade professionals on whisky. The Snackbar-B-Q craft cocktail menu features several items like The Spiffy Pig, a mix of Jim Beam black Bourbon, Canadian Club whiskey, peach juice, sweet and sour mix, jalapeño bacon bits, and soda.
From craft cocktails to flavourful BBQ food with a twist, Snackbar-B-Q is Bringing a Unique Sizzle to town.