Lou Dawg’s brings BBQ goodness to campus

In Arts & Life /

By Mohamed Omar
In the year 2000, three Ryerson students living in Neill Wycik went to the old Mick E. Fynn’s at Yonge and Gerrard streets and got drunk. They did it again and again, bringing booze virgins and experienced veteran whiskey Vikings along, slowly forming a Ryerson community in what was then just a shitty divebar.

Now, with the help of sobriety and a degree or two, the three are working together to give Ryerson students a sense of belonging: a place to eat, socialize and have a beer. Or 12. 

Enter Lou Dawg’s Southern Sandwiches at Church and Gerrard. No, seriously. Enter it. Go on. You’ll find wooden planks covering the walls. You’ll sit on wooden stools huddled under wooden tables covered with a shining plastic finish that feels like glass. Rumour has it a pirate ship crashed into what was previously a pasta joint and made it look really cool.  You’ll listen to blues music and feel like you just returned from a hard day of work— while in reality you just barely made it to your 3 p.m. class.  The second floor is under construction, but will soon be home to a bar.

Lou Dawg’s offers pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket sliders that are smoked for 18 hours and then drowned in barbecue sauce that will inevitably cover your face.  Sweet potato fries sprinkled with sea salt will prove to be more appealing than the McDonald’s fries you’ve shoved down your throat every weekend. Dry-rubbed chicken wings will show you that chicken wings are in reality not the size of your pinky or taste like rubbing alcohol. Poutine? It’s called a Loutine here. Pulled pork and melted cheese covers home-made fries that demand entry into your mouth. Oh, and it’s open till 4 a.m.

Fantastic calorie-heavy comfort food aside, Lou Dawg’s wants to offer, according to its proprietor Daryl D’Souza, a “place to call home.”

D’Souza, 33, graduated from Ryerson in 2001 with a bachelor in computer science, and has been teaching a marketing class here since 2009.

“It feels really weird teaching a class at the school I went to,” he says. “Then I come here to the bar, right next to where I used to live.”

Who could understand what students want more than a former student?

“You have to understand the demographic,” says the Calgary native. “I am the demographic.”

His partners and Neill Wycik alumni, chef Sean Smith and Brian Jansen, helped start up the store’s first branch on King and Portland streets. The second branch that graces our campus opened in late September of this year. Jansen, according to D’Souza, was tearing down his father’s barn in Kerwood, Ont. when Smith and D’Souza were looking for wood.

“We asked him to build us some stuff,” says D’Souza. The rest is southern-comfort history.

The moral of the delicious story? Your colleagues here at Ryerson are not just your drinking partners. Today, you may be sharing a shitty pitcher at the Ram, or next semester at Lou Dawg’s bar with live music, but in ten years, your beer buddy could very well end up being your business partner.

The Eyeopener visited Lou Dawg’s last week and were smothered in great food. Here are some shots of our adventure:

Photos by Lindsay Boeckl

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