One of our featured barbecue joints in Columbia and Greene Counties
When the grits hit the fan in the Wall Street debacle of 2008, Joe Fierro, a COO for a national mortgage company, saw his opening.
“My business partner would tell me, ‘You should own a restaurant,’” says Fierro, who had a knack for arranging the company parties. “And I would say, ‘I wish I did.’”
Free of the corporate grind, Fierro spent time at his weekend home in Windham, touring local towns. A neglected brick firehouse in Hudson caught his eye, and today it’s been rechristened American Glory, a bilevel restaurant with high ceilings crowned by a medallion design, sleek black banquettes, and cool filament light-bulb chandeliers.
But the real test is the food, and customers have given it two thumbs up. Start with addictive deep-fried mac n’ cheese balls; N’awlins fried oysters with a balsamic glaze and bacon bits; or chili made with brisket, smoked pork belly, and sirloin, which has won awards twice at the Columbia County Fair.
It’s all a prelude to the eclectic barbecue: Texas-style brisket, North Carolina pulled pork, spare and St. Louis-style ribs, all smoked over applewood from Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook. “Down South, they use a lot of hickory and mesquite,” says Fierro, “but I prefer the sweetness of applewood because it’s a light smoke and you taste the meat.”
This may be the only barbecue restaurant you’ll visit that serves pickled red cabbage with its brisket sandwich. “It’s delicious and provides the crunch you’d get from cole slaw,” says Fierro, who borrowed the idea from a German neighbor. “I’m drawing on memories of stuff that makes me feel good.”
At the dramatic floor-to-ceiling wood bar on the lower level, old-fashioned “Prohibition-style” cocktails are shaken and stirred with hand-crushed ice, fresh herbs, fruits, and house-made simple syrups displayed in an array of colorful little jewel-toned bottles. “We consider ourselves a whiskey bar and carry close to 100 different whiskies, bourbons, Scotches, and ryes,” says Fierro. Come for Happy Hour (3:30-5:30) and order a real mint julep or a New Orleans-style Sazerac topped with a curl of lemon peel for $6.
Fierro recently opened another location in Tannersville; a third is planned for Great Barrington. And there’s a food truck that makes the rounds at festivals. “Barbecue is good munchie food,” says Fierro. “If you’re drinking beer, you want to eat a rib.”