Behind The Scenes At Brooks’ BBQ In Oneonta [PHOTO/VIDEO]
I spent some time with Ryan Brooks and learned a few things you may not have known about Brooks' Restaurant in Oneonta, NY.
We see Brooks' BBQ around the Utica area year round. While the Brooks you may see at a field day or fair is mainly barbecued chicken. At the restaurant in Oneonta, the menu includes not only chicken but ribs, salads, fries and more.
I went inside the Brooks' BBQ Restaurant and Bottling Co. in Oneonta and found out some history that you may not know.
Let's start at the beginning:
- Ryan's great grandparents started a chicken farm in Stamford NY in 1912
- Their daughter Francis married Griffon Brooks in 1941 and purchased John McClelland's (Francis's dad) chicken farm
- They start a successful catering business and folks loved their BBQ in 1951
- They open a concession stand at Del-Se-Go drive inn in 1958
- Brooks' House Of BBQ opens in 1961 seating 80 people
- The restaurant expanded to seat 300 with the largest indoor BBQ pit in the East in 1965
- Francis and Griffin sold the restaurant to their son John and his wife Joan in 1975
- John Brooks starts his famous spiedie sauce around 1980
- In 2005, John and Joan sold the restaurant to their son Ryan and his wife, Beth
- In 2007, they opened the Ice Cream and Gift Shop. Since then they've added banquet rooms, playgrounds and more to the picnic area for a very friendly family experience
- The Brooks' Bottling Co. was added to the family business in 2013. That business is so successful that it's already expanded by 6000 sq ft in 2014 and looks might it might need to expand again.
Frank Sinatra bought this 1936 Chevy new in Palm Springs CA, at the height of his singing career. Blue Eyes kept it his entire life. When he passed away, it went up for sale at an auction in Indiana where John Brooks is now the happy owner.
Some proud moments for Ryan Brooks is serving many TV and movie stars, professional athletes and politicians, but goes on to say nothing is more important than the local customers he gets to meet on a daily basis. Brooks' BBQ will travel as far as 100 from Oneonta for an event. They currently have about 120 employees and will be hiring more soon.
They come by car, truck, bus, motorcycle, plane, train and boat. You should make the time to do it to. It's a great experience.