The reopened Maple Tree BBQ in Riverhead is introducing a...

The reopened Maple Tree BBQ in Riverhead is introducing a new menu. Credit: Ian J Stark

After a brief closure to spruce up the dining room, Maple Tree BBQ in Riverhead has reopened with a new owner. Dennis O’Leary, a former media executive, purchased the business from Kevin Judge, under whose ownership Maple Tree evolved from a modest roadside deli into one of LI’s top spots for barbecue.

“I wanted to do something local,” O’Leary said. “When this opportunity came up, I jumped on it.”

Far from abandoning the smokers that crowd Maple Tree’s backyard, O’Leary intends to “double down” on barbecue, taking as his inspiration the world-renowned Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. A new menu is gradually being introduced.

Maple Tree’s staff has been retained, and Evan McDonough, formerly executive chef at Moriches Caterers, has been hired to run the kitchen. O’Leary’s wife, Andrea Glick, will also lend a hand. A former cook at Le Bernardin in Manhattan, she is now a culinary instructor at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead.

Maple Tree BBQ is at 820 W. Main St., Riverhead, 631-727-2819

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