We finally got to Hickory BBQ this evening and found it worth all the praise in previous threads. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is roadhouse funky. On the table is a load of condiments: barbecue sauce, spicy barbecue sauce, mustard sauce, jalapeno sauce, Frank's Red Hot sauce, and ketchup. The napkins are oversize washcloths and you get a big bowl for your bones.
We started with ice cold pints of Sam Adams on tap. There is a fine selection of beers by the bottle, a few more on tap, and a decent wine list with some served by the glass. I love onion rings and could not resist ordering them as an appetizer when the server described the "fruity old sourdough starter" used in the batter. I had a little trepidation when he said they looked like donuts since they puff up so much; I began to think of the overly thick doughy rings so often served in diners. Well, what a pleasant surprise! The onion rings did look just like donuts and they were extremely hot right out of the oil. The batter was very thin and almost as flaky as phyllo. Incredible! My wife says that she has never had better onion rings.
The main courses did not disappoint at all. Perfectly cooked spare ribs and intensely marinated free-range chicken were our choices. The ribs have a wonderful smokiness and pull off the bone easily though they do not fall off the bone. The half chicken has flavor right down to the bone; they say it is marinated for 48 hours. We shared the sides: homemade crisp french fries, excellent roasted potato salad, braised cabbage in a thyme broth (vegetable of the day) and kale which was simply prepared but excellent and was the green of the day. I forgot to mention the fabulous cornbread served when you sit down (deeply flavored with maple syrup) and the very good hot biscuits. Of course, we have leftovers.
We were too full to eat dessert there but we took home a piece of sweet potato pie which looks great but I am still too full to eat it just yet. With its location just about 3 miles west of Thruway Exit 19, Hickory BBQ is a real winner and should be quite successful in this region.