Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q had its roots in a poultry farm. Griffin Brooks graduated from the Agricultural and Technical College at Delhi in 1940 with a degree in animal husbandry. In 1941, Griffin married Frances McClelland who majored in food management at Delhi College. They purchased her father's poultry farm in Stamford where they raised chickens for eggs and meat. Griffin and Frances had a retail store on the farm and supplied local stores with dressed and packaged poultry and eggs. In 1951, they started their first catering jobs with the local Rod and Gun Club and the Delaware Cooperative Farm Bureau Extension Service. By the mid 1950's the Brooks family was catering local barbecues from April to the end of September. They also held barbecues at their farmstead on Saturday nights during the summer.
In 1958, the Brooks family began operation of a concession stand at the miniature golf and driving range connected with the Del-Se-Go Drive-In. Griffin and Frances shared a dream of someday owning their own restaurant. The concession stand was very successful for two seasons and enabled them to fulfill their dream. They leased land on Route 7, near the present location and built the first Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q Restaurant. This restaurant opened on June 10, 1961 with a seating capacity of eighty and approximately fifteen people were employed there.
In 1965, the Brooks' realized they needed a more spacious dining room and food preparation area as their restaurant and catering business grew. They purchased Ralph Halcomb's farm and built the present restaurant. It has a seating capacity of 300 and has the largest indoor charcoal barbecue pit (38 feet in length) in the East. During the peak of the summer season, approximately one hundred people are employed at the restaurant as well as the catering business.
In 1975, Griffin and Frances sold the restaurant to their son John and his wife Joan. John graduated from Delhi Tech with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and also served four years in the United States Air Force. The restaurant and catering business grew along with the growth of the colleges in the area. Most of the catering is done within a 100 mile radius from the restaurant, but we have been as far away as Sands Point Park and Reserve on Long Island and at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the Newport Jazz Festival. At one outing alone, 4,500 people were served at the Kingston I.B.M. Corporation.
In 2005 John and Joan sold the restaurant to their son Ryan and his wife Beth. Ryan grew up in the business and is a 1996 Restaurant Management graduate of RIT and Beth is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta. Ryan and Beth are proud to be the third generation to carry on the family business. Ryan's aunt, Phyllis O'Sullivan, along with their faithful employees keep the restaurant, takeout, banquet, sauce production and catering business a family affair since 1951.