Thunder Bay's Culinary Scene is on Fire!

Grilled delights at the Red Lion Smokehouse

Red Lion Smokehouse
28 Cumberland Street South

people at smoker

Within a month of opening, in mid-October 2014, the Red Lion Smokehouse attracted a loyal following that hasn't slowed. Red Lion has become a staple restaurant in the Waterfront District's gastro-pub scene.

The owners have invested in a big way with a charcoal grill known as a josper. A josper is a combined grill and oven device from Spain where charcoal alone is used to cook and grill quickly, up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which has the advantage of keeping in the juices and flavour better than a regular oven or grill. The Red Lion claims to be one of three restaurants in all of Canada to have a josper.

red chairs

The owners transformed the interior of the location into a spacious and welcoming restaurant/lobby/play area so much that any divisions dissolve when you enter. Mason jars make for lamps and deer antlers as candleholders. The fireplace is projected above two beautiful red couches in a cozy corner.

board games

The owners are John and Alex, a youthful couple and first time adventurers in running their own restaurant business. John trained as a chef in Toronto, lived and worked in England for eight years in a number of Michelin starred restaurants. The English influence is the reason for the “pub” feel, the stack of board games by the entrance, and the name and décor.

burger fries

Only the burger buns are not made from scratch. Everything else is, which is pretty phenomenal for our Northern location. As Alex states, with her broad smile, “We make our own ice cream, barbeque sauce, aioli sauce – everything. Nothing comes into this place that is made by someone else. And the brisket is smoked for 14 hours!”


As for the menu, expect surprises along with the basics. They’ll have all the traditional English pub food and drinks you might expect; burgers, pulled pork, fish and chips, ribs, mac and cheese, etc., but they will thrill you with novel creations and healthy choices. The menu changes from time to time but the favourites are always there and you can never go wrong. 


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