Posted on October 9, 2012 by Marina

If you’re from Toronto, you know Lou Dawg’s – the ultimate BBQ and live music spot. With locations on King Street and the Ryerson Pub, Lou Dawg’s has been spreading BBQ joy all around.

“BBQ is more than just unbelievably tender, affordable and delicious food that is NOT deep fried, preserved or otherwise modified.  BBQ is tradition, culture, music, family, friendship, secret recipes, stories legends and tall tales.” 

Meet the man behind the BBQ: Daryl DSouza, co-founder.

Photo: Aaron Harris for The Toronto Star.  

What inspired you to be a pub owner and how did Lou Dawg’s get started?

My genius of an executive chef, very good friend from Ryerson University & business partner Sean Smith made pulled pork on his stove almost 5 years ago.  After one bite, my verbatim quote was “DUDE, this is gold on a bun! … Actually – it is our civic duty to give people the opportunity to eat this sandwich when they want to.

Co-founders Daryl & Sean.

What inspired the name?

I am a music lover and have always been a huge Sublime fan.  While we were doing the business plan in 2008, my business partner/chef and his wife adopted a dog from  The dog arrived named “LuLu” – I was not going to agree to call any dog LuLu, so I started calling the dog Lou Dawg.  Then I started to say “Lou Dawg, Imma make you famous” when she would walk around the kitchen stool while Sean and I were working on the laptop.

What can someone who has never been to Lou Dawg’s expect?

Good Times!  Seriously, that’s what we Serve.  Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Live Music, Catering, Weddings, Patio or Late Night Eats – WE SERVE GOOD TIMES.  Our promise is to give our guests an environment filled with good people, good music and good food any time of the day.  A comfortable and down to earth environment filled with the smell of real BBQ and the warmth of southern culture.

What’s the main difference between the Ryerson and King St locations?

The 2 biggest differences between the King & Ryerson locations is

1) the Ryerson location uses a traditional hamburger bun instead of the delicious fresh baked Portuguese bun.

2) The Ryerson location is focused primarily on the Ryerson University community – so we have entertainment, #FREESTUFF and drink specials 7 days per week!

How do you go about choosing the live acts to perform?

I run the music program at Lou Dawgs.  As a former pub guitarist around Toronto – I understand what an exceptional musician is and I’ve been fortunate to build a roster of the very best soulful musicians in the city.  By Soulful, I mean, Blues/Funk/Soul/Ska/Jazz & Rock.  We are lucky enough to literally have Juno winners on our musician roster.

One dish that you have to try at Lou Dawg’s?

The Mighty Loutine will change your life…. And if you’re up for it, The Big Dawg Poutine is the NEXT level.

How has social media helped you and the pub?

The iPhone has changed my life.  All day long, I make friends & grow the Lou Dawgs Family – online and off.

Maintaining a social media presence has resulted in the opportunity to cater the Blue Jays clubhouse, get to know some of the players, cater the George Stombo show, to host the #LoserKaraoke crowd Tuesdays at Lou Dawgs Ryerson & Thursday at Lou Dawgs on King, to meet and become good friends with all of the local radio hosts and to connect with endless amounts of good people and new friends.

We really rely on word of mouth marketing and Twitter has been able to help us greatly to spread the word of Lou Dawg’s.

Also, funny story – boy band One Direction ate here once and tweeted about it. The result was going global on social media with LouDawgs being a trending topic on Twitter. We also had an army of teenage girls coming to eat at the restaurant. Here’s the article from Toronto Star that explains it further.  

Our social media presence includes: 

Favourite thing about being a pub owner?

I have the greatest job in the world.  Between staff, suppliers, friends and our growing Lou Dawgs family (including 5 Co-ed & 1 Mens TSSC softball teams), I spend my entire day surrounded by good people, good music & good food.  #Goodtimes.


Visit our our friends at Lou Dawg’s for yourself to see what it’s all about. Thursday night is a #LoserKaraoke with live music, BBQ and Steam Whistle pitcher special.