Butchers Block Bbq
By Diane Duflot

A Booming Barbecue Joint in Burnaby

Looking for authentic barbecue on the West Coast? Husband and wife team Calvin and Mary Levesque have been serving up backyard-style ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and more at their Burnaby restaurant since June 2005. Their centrally located eatery is just a short 15-minute drive to downtown Vancouver, close to the North Shore and is only about eight blocks from the couple's own home.

Originally named, “Burgers, Etc.,” the restaurant has evolved considerably over the years. After more than a decade in business, Mary and Calvin decided to change the name to Butchers Block BBQ in 2016. The name change came about as the burger joint expanded into a full-scale barbecue restaurant when Calvin decided to start experimenting with a new smoker. “The former name was a bit deceptive,” laughs Mary, “since it was a big, ‘Etc.’ that kind of took over the ‘Burgers.'"

Despite the name change, burgers are still very much a big draw at the Burnaby eatery. About nine months after the restaurant first opened, CTV asked its viewers to cast their votes in a Vancouver’s Best Burger competition. “We won!" Mary recalls. "There were camera crews…we were on TV…and it all snowballed from there.”

The thick, juicy burgers at Butchers Block BBQ could be a prototype for the genre.  Beef, chicken and veggie patties are garnished with a variety of savoury toppings (cheddar, sautéed onions, bacon, pineapple and fried egg are just a few of the options) and are served alongside house-made sides such as creamy coleslaw, macaroni salad and corn niblets.

If you want people to keep coming back, the customer service needs to be just as good as the food. - Mary Levesque, co-owner
Butchers Block BBQ (formerly Burgers Etc.) has been operating in Burnaby since 2005.
Butchers Block BBQ (formerly Burgers Etc.) has been operating in Burnaby since 2005.
The cozy dining room at Butchers Block BBQ features nostalgic touches and red decor accents.
The cozy dining room at Butchers Block BBQ features nostalgic touches and red decor accents.

Smokin' Good Meats

The early media coverage was a boon to the new restaurant, which has been busy ever since. The dining room, originally conceived with banquettes, has been adapted to accommodate the large amount of BBQ-hungry customers. Banquettes were removed and replaced with tables and chairs that could seat more people. “Customers are always asking us to expand our space,” says Mary, “but we’re happy with what we have here.”

Since upping their barbecue game, Calvin has invested in three smokers, all of which have been upgraded so that they can satisfy Butchers Block BBQ’s carnivorous clientele. He regularly smokes at least six different types of meat, including thick-sliced beef brisket, juicy pulled pork, dry-rubbed smoked chicken, chicken wings, Italian sausage and fall-off-the-bone ribs that are slathered with a signature BBQ sauce.

For special occasions, though, he'll extend that range, as he did for Burnaby's popular Hats off Day along Hastings Street. During the event, turkey legs from Calvin's smoker were such a big hit that the entire neighbourhood was dotted with pedestrians walking around with Flintstone-sized turkey drumsticks.

In addition to the restaurant's finger-licking good barbecue fare, Mary also prides herself on the customer service at Butchers Block BBQ, something she learned (like so many Vancouver restaurateurs) from John Bishop when she worked at his renowned restaurant, Bishop’s. “If you want people to keep coming back,” she says, “The customer service needs to be just as good as the food.”

Indeed, and it seems that Butchers Block BBQ has been hitting both of these notes, and then some, with its high quality barbecue fare and warm hospitality.

Awards and accolades adorn the walls at Butchers Block BBQ.
Awards and accolades adorn the walls at Butchers Block BBQ.
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