New Bub’s BBQ owner looks to bring new life to Sunderland staple

  • Andrew Garlo, the new owner of Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland, spreads rub on pork spare ribs. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Andrew Garlo, the new owner of Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland, slices freshly smoked brisket. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Andrew Garlo, the new owner of Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland, with a plate of barbecue, brisket and kielbasa. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Bub’s BBQ on Amherst Road (Route 116) in Sunderland. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 03, 2022

SUNDERLAND — Surrounded by news clippings gathered over four decades in Bub’s BBQ’s dimly lit dining area, its new owner is hoping to bring some new life into the Sunderland staple.

Andrew Garlo, 32, bought Bub’s BBQ at the beginning of September, taking the plunge of owning his first restaurant after nearly 20 years in the industry. Having previously worked at bars and taverns, and most recently as part-owner of Paper City Bar and Grill in Holyoke, Garlo hopes to kickstart Bub’s BBQ by bringing in a liquor license and all sorts of entertainment.

“I want to bring some new energy into an old place. … Things have to change to stay alive,” Garlo said. “It’s been here 43 years — it’s gotta stay.”

The changes at Bub’s, however, won’t be sweeping new menu changes or a change in character. Racks of ribs and brisket are still the main focus and Garlo has the original recipes, but has been experimenting with them by adding in a “New England twist” through the use of maple and apple flavoring.

“It’s not Texas, it’s not North Carolina. … I’d say it’s more New England-style,” Garlo said, adding that he sources all of his ingredients from local farms. “I’m a big proponent of local.”

A Westfield native and Sunderland resident, Garlo said it’s a little nerve-wracking taking over a longstanding local restaurant, but with some interior renovations and some work, he is hopeful he can bring old customers back and draw in new ones.

“Oh God yeah,” he said when asked if there were some nerves, but he paraphrased some advice his mother had told him, saying that if you don’t laugh, then you will cry instead. “I’ll laugh along with it and have fun.”

Garlo said he first started smoking meat five years ago and it quickly grew into a passion for him.

“From there, it took over,” he said. “Barbecue food is different; the time and patience you put into it is a bigger investment.”

With the growth of barbecue’s popularity over the years, Garlo said it takes a good atmosphere and strong recipes to stick out.

“Nowadays, everybody barbecues,” he said.

To grow the business and provide more reasons to stop by Bub’s than just the food, Garlo has applied for an entertainment license, with the intention of running a host of events for patrons.

He floated the ideas of trivia nights, one-man acoustic musical sets, cigar nights and special pairings of whiskey or beer with Bub’s smoked meat. All of these events, if approved by the Selectboard, will take place in the tent adjacent to the building, which he plans to heat in the winter.

Bub’s BBQ was opened on July 4, 1979 by Howard “Bub” Tiley, who sold it to his son in 2000. The restaurant was eventually sold to Andrea Moroney in 2011 before Moroney sold it to Garlo last month.

In taking on that legacy of serving barbecue food, Garlo said his first month has been eventful. He’s been adding new items to the menu to complement the main entrees, like smoked cookies, which he described as being comparable to biting into a s’more.

“You can cook anything in the smoker — it’s just a slow cooker,” he explained. “It’s been fun.”

Bub’s BBQ is located at 676 Amherst Road (Route 116) and is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. The Selectboard has approved a full liquor license — which the restaurant has never had before — and a continuation of the entertainment license hearing was set on Monday.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.