It’s a quiet, non-descript building on Main Street in Willard. Almost directly across from the Willard Drug Treatment Campus, owner Carrie Bates runs from one end of the small space to the other. Bates Main Street Smokehouse is a family function, with Carrie’s brother, cousin, son, and family friend all playing vital roles in making the success story in the making.”There’s so much potential and nothing like it around,” Carrie explained. “This street used to have so much going on, but recently it hasn’t had as much,” she continued. The concept of the smokehouse was born over a long period of time. Carrie had tended bar next door to the Smokehouse in the other half of the building it sits inside – when it was a bar.When a friend of hers suggested taking on the rental property next door to the building, which houses the smokehouse currently – ideas began running through her mind about that building next door that she tended bar at years before.
“We planned for about a year-and-a-half. Bringing things together, getting things ready,” Carrie explained. It was a process that took some time to get right. While the team was aggressive in making Bates Smokehouse a reality – the idea was to start small, to grow into something larger down the road. A smokehouse is a concept that is built for the area. Hundreds are employed across the road, and with Five Points Correctional Facility, as well as the New York State Troopers in close proximity – there is plenty of reason to believe that a restaurant like this can be successful. “What can I do to be different?” Carrie asked herself. It was the question that shaped what the smokehouse is today.Rod Andrews, an American Veteran who served in Iraq is responsible for cooking much of the food that comes off the smoker. While Bates’ recipes are used at the smokehouse – he makes sure that the meats coming out of the smoker are ready for patrons. Bates Main Street Smokehouse quietly opened in Willard in the last couple weeks. While they will hold a major event, signalling the official opening of the Main Street Smokehouse on July 9th – it comes down to wanting to give a product to those who live in the area that they can enjoy every day.
The food at Bates Main Street Smokehouse stands up to the competition. It has been a years-long journey for Carrie and Co. who have worked hard over the last several months to make this restaurant a successful venture. The process of perfecting the recipes at the smokehouse was something that took years – if not decades. Carrie talks fondly about pig roasts, family get togethers, and cookouts that she hosted over the years. These were the occasions where her cooking skills and recipes were honed to create the backbone for Bates Main Street Smokehouse.Fall-off-the-bone ribs, smoked chicken, and a variety of other items exclusive to the Main Street Smokehouse all contribute to a meal like no other in Seneca County. The flavor packed inside is unequivocally preserved through the process of smoking, and comes together to create an explosion of flavor. Homemade salads compliment the selection of meats, which Carrie says will be expanded with more handheld offerings – like burgers, sausage, and other items in the coming months. The decidedly positive thing the Main Street Smokehouse has going for it in Willard is that there isn’t anything on the menu that isn’t tried and true. The team prides itself on delivering only the products that they can deliver on to customers. It’s something that has been at the forefront of their operation since it’s inception – and something that remains a focal point as the Main Street Smokehouse continues to grow. The menu is not oversized, and does not take minutes to look over. That is something customers will appreciate. As they work to cater – and even deliver locally – to the customers in the Willard-area – their hope is to grow the operation even larger.
Carrie and Co. has high-hopes for the food and business, but also for a building that has historical and sentimental value in Willard. It would be easy to say that the Bates Main Street Smokehouse is an up-and-coming restaurant that could very easily turn into a success story for the ages.
Above all else, though, the Main Street Smokehouse is the quintessential eatery that is built for success in the Finger Lakes. Family-owned, hyper-local, and quality raised above all else – at a value like no other.Those in the Finger Lakes can expect big things from this small town smokehouse, located on Main Street in Willard.
Food in the Finger Lakes is an exclusive feature by FingerLakes1.com’s Lead News Editor Josh Durso. Click here to suggest your favorite restaurant — and let us know what your experience was like at the Main Street Smokehouse in the comments below. Follow Josh on Twitter @FLXJosh for the latest on this feature and more.