The Bull BBQ Pit: a hotspot for students in Downtown St. Catharines

The Bull BBQ Pit, located at 24 St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines, has been serving the downtown community for over four years. In that time, it has become one of the most prominent businesses in the area.

The “Bull Pit,” as it is often called by locals, is known around the city for extremely affordable prices, delicious food and creative menu options. The menu includes items such as “Between the Sheets” (a burger served between two grilled cheese sandwiches) and the “Frick & Frack” (a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with macaroni and cheese and served with the restaurant’s own smoky dip).

The majority of the items on the menu are priced below $10, and the few that are above $10 are all under $12. For a downtown restaurant and business scene that can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, the prices at the Bull BBQ Pit are often a refreshing change for customers who want more affordable options.

“One of our biggest policies is good value,” said Omar Fawzy, the owner of the restaurant. “Our prices are very reasonable. We don’t want the bill to be a bad experience, but a good extra treat that can put a smile on your face.”

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While the prices are low, the quality is very high; nearly everything is made in-store from scratch, and it is made fresh daily.

“You’re coming to a place where we make everything” he said. “Pretty much everything we make is homemade… we make our smoked onion dip, our own barbecue sauce, and our dips. Our jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks are hand-made.”

Fawzy opened the restaurant on Boxing Day 2011. He had been working in the restaurant business for about 20 years, but had never owned his own, and so he decided that it was time to try.

The restaurant opened to humble beginnings; the original menu contained only 16 items, and did not include many of the items for which the Bull BBQ Pit is now known. Fawzy said that they spent a lot of time experimenting with different options and ideas before finally settling on barbecue items as the restaurant’s main future, and created many of the items that have become popular today .

Fawzy said that a big change in the Bull BBQ Pit’s business was their appearance on the Food Network’s “You’ve Gotta Eat Here.” The show featured them as one of the top restaurants across all of Canada and helped to firmly establish the restaurant’s current reputation for excellence.

The restaurant’s location downtown has also allowed them to develop a strong presence in the community of restaurants and businesses in the St Catharines downtown core. Fawzy said that he has been very happy with the city and the downtown district, and has enjoyed experiencing the changes and growths that it has gone through.

“The city is great and the people are great,” said Fawzy. “I’ve seen the city improving and growing every year. The arena has brought in a lot of families, and the school has brought in more business, and they have been bringing in different crowds and types of people down here.”

Christy Mitchell/ The Brock Press

Christy Mitchell/ The Brock Press

The introduction of the Meridian Centre, the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, and the Marilyn I. Walker School for Fine and Performing Arts to the downtown core this year has brought a lot more people downtown and has helped a great deal with strengthening the business community in the area.

Fawzy said that one thing that he hopes for the future of the restaurant is that they can reach out to more students. He said that they love students, and they find that the majority of their patrons are families, so they would like to see more students coming to check out the restaurant.

“We’d love to see more Brock students,” said Fawzy. “Most of our clientele are families, and we would like to see more students. Our prices are affordable and our food is good and fresh.”

More information about the Bull BBQ Pit can be found on their website at thebullbbqpit.com or on the phone at 905-397-3287.

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