After a fast and furious rise, has barbecue plateaued on Long Island?
Maybe. In the last eight months, at least four barbecue restaurants have closed, including North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse in Wading River, Fatwood in Bay Shore, Dixie’s in Kings Park and Harbor Q in Port Washington. The latest to call it a day is Port Jefferson’s Smoke Shack Blues, which announced its closure via an Instagram post last week.
Chef Jonathan Levine opened Smoke Shack Blues in 2016 after leaving his four-year post as chef at Wave Seafood Kitchen at the Danfords Hotel & Marina to devote himself to smoldering white oak and pit-smoked meats. Pulled pork, ribs, quartered chicken, wings and a much-feted brisket figured on the menu, served up in a Main Street space with two massive smokers and assorted fryers, flap tops and grills.
In the post, someone from Smoke Shack wrote, “We have decided to set our sights on new goals and are leaving Port Jefferson,” before signing off with “Thank you, Long Island.” It is unclear if Smoke Shack will continue its catering arm; Levine was unavailable for comment.
When Harbor Q Barbecue and Smokehouse closed earlier this summer, it had logged 12 years on the barbecue scene — but about half of the barbecue spots operating in Nassau and Suffolk have opened in the past three years. Click here for Newsday’s 2019 list of top barbecue restaurants.