I love kitsch. I love BBQ. I love live music. I love roadside attractions AND I love the Adirondacks. Put those things together and you have Tail O’The Pup Smokehouse in Ray Brook, NY (half way between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid).
Tail O’The Pup is like the amusement park of BBQ shanty shacks. It’s eye catching funhouse decor makes you think you have arrived at Bozo The Clown’s Roadhouse! I feel all sorts of giddy an excited when I see it. So much so I chose to use the word “giddy”……that says a lot.
You can smell the wood burning grill from at least a mile away (and yes, you will start to salivate).
The kitschy decor, such as a huge red lobster, old beat up smoker, vintage motorcycles, red & white checked table clothes, outside picnic tables, tents and live music will beckon you to stop even if you aren’t a fan of BBQ (no worries – they serve a little bit of everything here and are know for their Clam Bakes as well).
There are outdoor pool tables, a live stage, mini arcade, outdoor bar and ice cream stand to keep people of ages occupied.
My traveling companion and I enjoyed a nice selection of BBQ grilled chicken, ribs, corn bread, macaroni & cheese, beer and soda.
The meat melted in our mouths and the corn bread was unique with it’s honey based syrup on top. But let’s be honest — BBQ all comes down to the sauce and let me tell you, the sauce was unbelievably good. It was the perfect mix of tangy/sweet with just enough kick to make you sweat just a bit. We looked like dinosaurs feasting on small animals with all the sauce we had on our faces. Don’t even ask how many napkins we went through!
Another favorite part was dessert! We both scoffed down our ice cold A&W Rootbeer floats in record speed! YUM!!!!!!!!!!
The service was quick and friendly and I really enjoyed getting to know the manager, Charles Robert Thomas. This extremely pleasant man with a permanent smile on his face won me over! We discussed our various travel adventures and he was even kind enough to present me with a a copy of his newly published book, ‘Those Crazy Memphis Blues’ (signed, thank you very much – lol). Before I knew it the charismatic chef (from Bristol, RI no less) was chatting with us as well. Mix in our conversation about tattoos and beer with the waitress and you have an absolutely fantastic dining experience!
I couldn’t stop photographing Tail O’The Pup. These type places speak to me. I love the Americana/grassroots feel. It is such a simple, hokey place but the food, decor, ambiance and friendliness of the staff will make it stand out in your memory forever.
Gay & Lesbian factor: Two thumbs up for sure! I was introduced to several gay workers and each told me what a great place Tail O’The Pup is to work for. Individuality was present every where I looked. I saw a rainbow of hair colors, piercing’s and tattoos. I also witnessed a gay couple being affectionate two picnic tables away. A MUST STOP when visiting the Lake Placid / Saranac Lake area in the Adirondacks.
I use to think I had to travel to the south or out west to experiences places like this – WRONG. Tail O’The Pup is close enough that I can take an overnight trip and get my BBQ, BLUES and BREWS (or Pepsi) fill.
I am feeling the pull…..road trip anyone???