Even on Killington's restaurant-clogged main strip, Back Behind is impossible to miss. A large part of the dining room is actually a cheerful red antique caboose. Another brightly painted train car serves as a snack bar. There, passersby can indulge in homemade ice cream and the spot's signature barbecue. The aromas of pork and burning wood waft from several smokers, including one painted in the likeness of a pig. You can smell it a mile away.
Conrad Zendzian, a former anatomy and physiology teacher, built the cookers. Though he and wife Gerry were new to the restaurant business when they bought Back Behind in 2000, the pair handles it all. Gerry ably runs the dining room and crafts technicolor gelati, while Conrad's knowledge of body parts comes in handy, since he's the one who roasts perfectly crisp ducklings and tends to the brisket and ribs.
Not much appears to have changed inside the high-ceilinged building since it opened as a country store in 1974. The fireplace is an odd assemblage of stalactites, fossilized ferns and petrified wood. The hood of a formal surrey or sedan hangs ostentatiously over the entrance to the bathroom. A caricature of Old Man Winter leers from a weathered thermometer advertising long-defunct Frostie Root Beer.
The menu has old-time values, too. All entrees are accompanied by a crock of tangy coleslaw studded with celery seeds. Bread comes from oven to table with pleasingly soft honey butter. Beyond the basics, diners can spring for dishes from the classic, French-inflected menu or opt for the Zendzian's ultra-smoky barbecue. If you're in luck, the vegetable of the day will be a tomato topped with broiled cheese and bread crumbs. In summer, ask for an ear of corn from the smoker.