Maple Tree BBQ

820 W Main St Riverhead, NY 631-727-2819

Smoked brisket and pastrami, paired with "kallerds," mac

(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

View map Type: Barbecue Special features: Catering Price range:

$$ (Moderate)


When Dennis O’Leary took over Maple Tree in 2016, the 14-year-old store was three years into its transition from deli to barbecue restaurant. It is now complete and smokin’ away. O’Leary and his wife, Andrea Glick, set about retooling the kitchen, refurbishing the dining room and building a 60-seat outdoor seating area out back — in view of the smokers. Order at the counter, and your food will be delivered to you whether you’re in the dining room, out back or at one of the picnic tables across Route 25, with a fine view of the Peconic River.

If Maple Tree adheres to any one barbecue style, it’s Texas. “Our hero is Aaron Franklin,” O’Leary said, referring to the founder of Austin, Texas’s Franklin Barbecue and author, with Jordan Mackay, of “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” (Ten Speed Press, 2015). No surprise that O’Leary and his pitmaster, Phil Liguori, excel at brisket ($18 a pound), Texas’ signature ’cue, as well as its cousins pastrami (brisket that’s brined before smoking, $19 a pound) and burnt ends (the carbonized tips of the brisket, doused with sauce, $18 a pound). The brisket and pastrami also star in sandwiches such as the Texan (brisket, caramelized onions and Cheddar on grilled sourdough, $12) and the Maple Tree Reuben (pastrami, Swiss, Thousand-Island dressing and sauerkraut on rye, $12).

eyond beef, Maple Tree ably handles all the standards — St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, smoked turkey — plus wings, pulled chicken and salmon. Everything is available by the pound, half pound or in platters with two sides. (Among the sides, don’t miss the “kallards,” kale that has been briefly — and profitably — braised in pork broth.) There are seven sandwiches ($9 to $12), and the pulled chicken, pork or smoked salmon can be had in soft-corn tacos (3 for $10) topped with salsa verde, queso fresco, pickled onions and cilantro. To drink: plenty of craft beers (tap and bottle) and wines, many of them local.


Tues-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

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