Anyone who lives or has lived in or around the Oneonta, NY area knows about Brooks House of BBQ, even if they have never been to the restaurant. So, really, locals do not need this review. For that reason, this review is written for travelers, and visitors, who are passing through the area. If you are in the area for business. Or, maybe for people who have kids attending college in one of Oneonta’s schools, and the family is looking for a place to eat. Whatever your reasons for being near Oneonta, Brooks House of BBQ is the one place you have to visit.
The hype and local love for Brooks House of BBQ
Brooks has been around for many years, and many locals will tell you that they have been going to Brooks since they were young. Others might say that Brooks has the best barbeque chicken, but have never been to the restaurant. That is because not only does Brooks have an amazing restaurant, but they also cater out for events and charities. School clubs and organizations will often use Brooks to make some money. It is not uncommon to see the giant grills set up on the side of the street somewhere while driving by in many towns surrounding Oneonta.
And people buy it, often making lots of money for the club or organization. Look in the local paper and there will be numerous advertisements from churches or groups selling “barbecue chicken dinners”. Anyone from around here will know that means the food came from Brooks House of BBQ.
Rachel Ray, the Food Network star, often boasts about living in upstate New York. Even she loves Brooks chicken, having featured the restaurant on her show “$40 a Day”.
The history of Brooks House of BBQ
The first Brooks restaurant was built in 1961. This was a small restaurant, but a dream come true for the owners who had made the money by catering and running a concession stand. This small restaurant did so well that they family was able to expand. In 1965, the restaurant grew and can now hold 300 people. It also boasts the largest indoor charcoal pit in the east at 38 feet in length.
Brook became known by their sign by the road. It has a woman with a meat cleaver, chasing a frantic chicken. To this day, people recognize and know Brooks by that old sign.
As years went by, and the restaurant continued to do well, the family expanded some more. They built a banquet room, a little cabin. There is a small park with an Amish style playground. There is now the Generations Gift Shop where they sell the Brooks BBQ sauces, marinades, and rubs as well as grilling supplies. On top of that, visitors can watch those sauces being bottled right on site in their factory.
Brooks has stayed in the family for three generations. Family members attended colleges locally, and took on the business when they were ready. Knowing it is a family run business that has not sold out to bigger corporations is another reason why Brooks House of BBQ is so wonderful.
The restaurant at Brooks House of BBQ
As mentioned earlier, Brooks can hold 300 visitors. The restaurant itself has a simple country feel to it. There are no over-the-top decorations or lighting affects. It is also elegant and charming, without making you feel like you have to hold your pinkie up when sipping tea. It is a very comfortable restaurant.
Guests do not have to eat inside the restaurant if they do not want to. Orders can be taken outside to the numerous picnic tables. There is also a beautiful swing right outside. Visitors can call in the order ahead of time, and have it waiting for them when they arrive. Take it outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and the good food.
The staff and waiters are always friendly at Brooks House of BBQ. It seems like that has to be a requirement on the employment application, or that the people of Brooks know good people when they see them.
The food at Brooks House of BBQ
The best part about Brooks is the food. There are two house specials, the chicken and the ribs. Both are often mentioned as being the best in New York, or the even the best in the world. The menu has an order of a half chicken barbecued on that huge pit with their famous chicken sauce. The flavor is sweet and tangy, different from what anyone might expect. The St. Louis ribs are also a favorite, barbecued with their specialty barbecue sauce. First timers to Brooks House of BBQ should definitely try these on their first go.
There are a lot more choices than just the house specials, though. Brooks has amazing barbecue sandwiches, seafood, and steak. All of them grilled to perfection. For a side dish, the French fries are amazing, and so is the baked potato. Basically, it is all good at Brooks House of BBQ. Desserts are homemade cakes and pies, or visitors can go to the Generations Gift Shop and have homemade soft ice cream cones or sundaes.
Getting the goods of Brooks House of BBQ
Visit the Brooks website to get an idea of what they have to offer. Their specialty sauces, marinades, and rubs can be ordered online and shipped anywhere.
Brooks House of BBQ
Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q
5560 State Highway 7
Oneonta, NY 13820
Phone: (607) 432-1782
Toll-Free: (800) 498-2445
Brooks’ History, brooksbbq.com