Unionville BBQ institution to set up shop on Friday’s in downtown Kennett
By Ginna Goodall, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com
KENNETT SQUARE — The Hoods Barbeque Restaurant in Unionville is a classic Mom and Pop operation that has plans to send out some new branches on the family tree.
Starting this week, they will be setting up shop at the Kennett Square Farmer’s Market. The Hoods will join a group of local farmers, cheese makers, beekeepers, and bakers who sell their produce and products every Friday from 2 PM to 6 PM in the outdoor market located in the brick walkway of Genesis in the center of Kennett. “Buy Fresh Buy Local” is the mantra of the Farmer’s Market and the Hoods are the epitome of that theme.
Dawn and Larry Hood have been serving tasty home-style comfort food at their modest restaurant, with its collection of eclectic tables and chairs, on Doe Run Road since 2006. Their legacy with food preparation goes back over 20 years with catering every occasion from private parties to large events like the Unionville Community Fair and the Willowdale Point-to-Point.
In tangent, Dawn made candies and cakes that they sold out of their home. Eventually she took over Minnie’s Bakery in Kennett and that segued into a small Mexican restaurant, until they finally found the perfect location for their full-size operation on Doe Run Road just north of the center of Unionville. The restaurant is open from 6 AM to 7 PM most days, with a slight variation on the weekends.
Originally the Hoods’ catering menu was primarily barbeque fare, but now they cover everything from the custom breakfast items served all day to traditional hot and cold deli sandwiches, Mexican specialties, as well as their time-tested barbeque pulled pork and smoked beef brisket. Naturally the menu includes all of the starters and sides you would expect, including a variety of seasonal soups, salads, fries, and even corn fritters. And Dawn’s homemade candies and cakes are still available, along with soft-serve ice cream cones for an after dinner treat.
The roots of the Hood family tree go deep, including four generations on a chicken farm in the Unionville area and proprietorship of a couple of historic hotels in the small towns of Southern Chester County. Dawn worked in the Unionville-Chadds Ford school district for many years before going into the food business full time, and Larry was a volunteer with the local fire company and still works at Longwood Gardens.
This local connection translates into the development of especially close relationships with their customers. Their regular customers are drawn from a diverse group, including the local horse community, itinerant construction crews, and families coming in from the URA baseball fields across the street. Even a couple of Hollywood movie stars have been known to drop in for a “Hoodie” while filming in the area! Some patrons are known to eat two or three meals at day at Hood’s and they even served Thanksgiving dinner to “people who had no where else to go.”
With the advent of a new neighborhood park around the corner and several other local businesses opening in the area, the hamlet of Unionville is returning to its old-time community feeling where families can walk down the road for an ice cream cone and catch up with their neighbors. The Hoods’ son, Larry III, will be joining the family business full-time after graduating from college later this month, and who knows what else the future holds for the restaurant– a franchise? When not playing rugby, daughter Morgan can often be found behind the counter, as well. It’s definitely a family operation!
Meanwhile, you can easily sample some of the Hoods’ delicious barbeque every Friday at the Kennett Farmer’s Market while also picking up your fresh produce, dairy products, home-made baked goods, jams & jellies, and cut flowers & plants. Convenient parking is available in the nearby Borough parking garage off of Union Street. There will be live music for the opening market day on May 6th and the First Friday Art Strolls each month will also include local artisans selling craft items. For more information about the Farmer’s Market, visit www.historickennettsquare.com/farmers . Hoods Barbeque is located at 1664 West Doe Run Road in Unionville or call 610-347-1670 for catering services. You won’t be disappointed!!