Every week, my pal Ed and I go out to lunch and we usually go to a new restaurant every time. Ed never knows where we’ll be dining until I surprise him with the invite.
Our choice this week? Wildwood Barbecue, in Hadley, a new joint that’s been open for only three weeks. The restaurant is located back from Route 9 in the former location of Sully’s a breakfast and lunch joint. There is a lot of parking and as we entered, it was full. You order at the counter and they hand you a playing card–then they call out, “Queen of Diamonds” when your food is ready.
Beside us sat two women, who said they both worked at local schools. One lady was particularly pleased to report that she had recently retired, so she wasn’t thinking about what September means any more. Ana Encarnacion, of Easthampton, quickly clued us in to a tip–they were going to split a combo plate, which when we saw the portions proved to be a good idea.
Ed ordered the sliced beef brisket sandwich. I’ve heard that it’s the brisket that truly defines a bbq joint, so I did the same. We added sides–bbq beans and roasted garlic potatoes. I’d have to say that the sides were the best part, the crunchy garlic potatoes and mustard-laced beans were very good. Brisket wise, I’d say it was good, but I realized I’m not the biggest brisket fan.
Owner Glenn Brunetti stopped by as we were finishing up our meal to say hi. He said he spent many years as an executive chef for a large school department, and that he’d run two other restaurants before. As we gave him our unrequested advice (you should have a lunch menu, and you should ask the servers to bring us our food) he laughed about how many people give you advice. Oh well.
But all in all, I think Wildwood is going to do well. It’s got lots of parking, plenty of passing traffic, the staff is friendly and the barbecue pretty darn good. Next time we’ll order combo plates because our meals were $14.95 each which is a little more than I usually spend on lunch. The women next to us paid $10 each for more food.