Adamson Barbecue’s Leaside location has operated without business licence for over 4 years

Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue currently facing a bevvy of charges for defying Toronto’s indoor dining ban, is making news again.

By Lucas Casaletto

Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue currently facing a bevvy of charges for defying Toronto’s indoor dining ban, is making news again.

It has been confirmed by city officials that Skelly has never operated under a business licence for his original Leaside restaurant, located at 176 Wicksteed Avenue in East York.

Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross revealed during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing that Skelly has received three summonses from the city regarding this matter. Carlton Grant, executive director of municipal licensing and standards, said that the Adamson Barbecue owner has been defying regulations for some time.

“It’s disappointing that he’s flouting the law like this,” Grant said through Zoom. “We have issued charges in the past. We are continuing to work with him to bring him in to compliance. There is a zoning issue in the Leaside location where it’s not permitted, where he would be required to get a change of use permit.”

Skelly tells the Toronto Star he tried to get a business licence at the Leaside location but was told the area was “not suitable” for a restaurant. Skelly blamed an old bylaw that disallows dining establishments despite a new, recently enforced city-wide bylaw that allows them.

Despite his attempts to rectify the situation in court, Skelly said the zoning “contradictions” have yet to be solved and getting a licence “is his preferred solution but has not been possible.”

The Star notes that Skelly has been fined $800 since 2016, which they say is much less than what an actual business licence would cost (just over $510 for the initial license and around $300 to renew annually over the last five years).

The town of Aurora, home to another Adamson Barbecue location, revealed that officials do not require physical restaurants to operate under similar laws.

“The Town of Aurora does not licence physical dining establishments. At this time, there are no requirements to operate these types of businesses in Aurora other than passing health inspections and any inspections related to the construction process,” a spokesperson told 680 NEWS in an email.

“Currently, our licensing bylaw only speaks to mobile food establishments such as food trucks, ice cream trucks, and hot dog cart type uses.”

According to York Region’s health inspection records,  Adamson Barbecue in Aurora failed multiple health regulations during its last inspection on Aug. 20 of this year.



York Region’s latest health report says Adamson Barbecue “failed to provide adequate protection against the entrance of pests”, “failed to remove garbage/liquid waste when necessary to maintain sanitary condition”, and “failed to ensure floors are kept clean/in good repair.”

The records show that under the ‘handwashing’ compliance item, Adamson Barbecue initially failed to provide a handwashing station with adequate supplies, but was corrected during inspection of the restaurant.

Grant says with Skelly receiving multiple summonses, there remains an opportunity for him to be officially licenced under the city, disputing Skelly’s claim that he’s shown the willingness to do so.

“There is a vehicle to get licenced. We need to work with the proponent, but the proponent does not seem to want to work with the government,” Grant added.

“It’s something we’re going to have to press on.”

Skelly was arrested last week after he broke into his own restaurant, kicking down his drywall and breaking the locks that were changed by Toronto officers.

He is facing several charges including mischief and obstructing police after breaking health regulations imposed by the city and the province.

Skelly was released on $50,000 bail and under the conditions must stay at least 200 metres away from Adamson Barbecue and is forbidden from communicating on social media.

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