Head north out of Frederick and you'll find yourself in serious country -- fields of plenty and mountain vistas. You'll also find yourself almost to Gettysburg and just past the campus of Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., where on the right side of Route 15N you'll spy Chubby's Southern Style Barbeque.
Those of the barbecue persuasion might make their way there without the promise of scenery, but Chubby's is worth the trip even without the roadside show. It's not much to look at, but inside you'll find quick and friendly service and some pretty darn good beef brisket for a place so close to the Pennsylvania border.
Chubby's is a full restaurant with about 20 tables, stools at the counter and a variety of daily specials. The takeout window and menu offer appetizers, burgers, fried chicken, a good chili, a much lighter, tangier take on coleslaw, nicely pork-strewn baked beans and some specially seasoned french fries. Servings are generous. But the meats are the reason to drop by. The pulled pork and rather "chubby" baby-back ribs are all well-seasoned, smoky, moist and carefully cooked. Attention has been paid to the process. The house-made barbecue sauce is fine but a bit on the mild and sweet side. Try the hotter, vinegary version; it'll remind you just a little of a South Carolina-style barbecue sauce.
Owner Tom Caulfield, who grew up in Chevy Chase, graduated from Mount St. Mary's and had no prior restaurant experience, made a career change and bought the place in late 2002. He is a dedicated cook, he said, and wanted to turn his enthusiasm into a "seven-day [a week] love affair." He created a menu of what he calls "crave foods." To ensure consistent quality, Caulfield said, he's in charge of all the meat preparation and cooking that takes place over white oak and hickory wood.
And as for all that natural beauty? Try toting your takeout into the Cunningham Falls State Park or Catoctin Mountain Park. Just follow the signs along Route 15 heading back south from Chubby's.
Chubby's Southern Style Barbeque, Route 15N at Old Frederick Rd., Emmitsburg, Md. Call 301-447-3322. Hours: Open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; and 11:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
-- Ronalie C. Peterson