Table being set for battle of the BBQers in Locke Mills Village
Posted July 22--For hungry travelers southbound from Bethel, it was a desolate stretch, long miles with little to look forward to -- unless your mouth watered at the thought of convenience-store hot dogs and pizzas.
Ditto for locals in the mood for take-out, but disinclined to drive to Bethel.
But now: beef brochettes, chicken legs, thighs and breasts, boneless pork and country-style ribs – all hot out of the apple-wood-fired barbecue oven, and honey cornbread, grilled asparagus, garlic baked potatoes, roasted peppers and onions, even Jersey dogs.
With still more to come next month, including BBQ Bob's pulled pork and jambalaya – all in a quarter-mile-plus stretch of Route 26 in Locke Mills Village.
First on the scene were Kelli and Ed Brands of Bethel.
On Sunday the Brands, including daughter Alyssa and son Zak, opened Kelli & Ed's Gourmet BBQ and Kitchen, at the south end of the parking lot of the former Cinnamon Stick Restaurant (and several other businesses) in Locke Mills.
“My wife and I have been cooking for 20 years.” Ed said. “Everyone always told us we should open our own place, and we finally did, starting out small.” In a building he constructed himself, “from scratch.”
“We hope to cater to the locals, as well as out-of-state people, and keep the prices economical,” Ed said. “We're in a recession now, so we want to keep the prices down, so people can eat every day – and eat something different.”
“We want to offer people the chance to broaden their horizons and have a new palate.”
Getting a new business started has been hectic, he said, but everything essential was smoking on opening day.
Except, he conceded, the menus. “Running to Wal-Mart to get ink has been at the bottom of the list.”
Kelli & Ed's is open seven days a week, “from early morning until late at night.” For more information, or to call ahead for pickup: 418-7592.
Return of 'BBQ Bob'
For better or worse, the Brands will soon have some company in the village, and some competition.
On Aug. 2 Bob Bolou (aka 'BBQ Bob') is scheduled to appear at a meeting of the Greenwood Planning Board, seeking approval of an application to convert the part of the Mahoosuc Mountain Sports property to a barbecue restaurant.
Food would be served from a vending truck parked between the driveway and Route 26, and the back part of the existing building would be converted to restaurant seating space.
Bolou previously ran a barbecue at the site of the Good Food Store in Mayville.
He could not be reached for comment.
“Bob went up to The County to see some friends, so he could have a little time with them before he starts working again,” said his partner, Harvey Moulter, of Hollis.
But Moulter was happy to describe their new venture.
“BBQ Bob has very unique homemade recipes he has developed on his own over the years. He has been doing BBQ since 1989, I believe.
“His coleslaw, beans are unlike anything I have ever tasted. He has his own special sauce that he prepares in both wild and mild blends.
“He uses traditional slow-smoking process for preparing his pulled pork, and brisket. Bob will have specials on occasion, such as jambalaya.
“Bob is very anxious to get back to smoking,” Moulter said, “and he is looking forward to opening up.”
It's too early, of course, to know if the area can support two such businesses, but until we learn – Bon appétit!