If you’re going to open a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic, make it barbecue.  

“We have to cook outside because of the pandemic,” says Howard Gross, owner of Iron Works Grill in Troy.

Gross has been involved in competitive barbecue for the past six years and has his own smoker, which stands conspicuously near the side of a busy road. He and his brother Keith have dreamed of cooking like their “opa”, grandfather, since they were kids.

Iron Works has been open since the end of May and it’s doing a brisk take-out business. Since Gross has a day job running a document imaging company in downtown Albany, Keith runs the day-to-day operation. And Chef DeShon Dandridge is the king of the sides: collard greens; beans and his specialty, peach cobbler. And of course, ice cream.   

The whole scene, which takes place in a parking lot adjacent to Burden Pond, is reminiscent of an old-time BBQ joint from the ‘50’s.