If your summer travel plans include NY’s Central-Leatherstocking Region (Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns, Turning Stone Casino) do yourself a favor and detour through Oneonta (Exit 16 off of I-88). Currently operated by the grandchildren of the original owners, Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q serves abundant quantities of ribs, beef and, arguably, the best chicken in upstate New York.
That’s quite a complimentary mouthful, considering nearby Syracuse spawned Dinosaur BBQ. While Dinosaur’s has expanded into a large franchise (it’s West Harlem location will be joined by one in Brooklyn in 2012), Brooks’ remains true to its humble roots as a caterer to a local rod and gun club. Entrees include a simple but sufficient salad bar and choice of chips, fries or onion rings. If there was a heaven just for carnivores, it would be decorated like Brooks’ with its rooster wallpaper and glass-eyed hunting trophies mounted on the walls.
The restaurant, lobby and even the parking lot are suffused with a smoky, brown sugary, ketchupy scent that incites you to eat much more than you should, especially since you definitely want homemade pie and ice cold milk for dessert. Even if I bought every sauce sold in their gift shop, I doubt I could recreate that smell, probably because I don’t have a 38-foot long indoor charcoal bbq. If only the folks at Glade would realize that some of us gals are tired of home fragrances that smell like lilac and lavender. Give us one that smells like meat on a spit!
Happy Memorial Day and Welcome Summer 2012!