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(Barbaraellen Koch photo)
Colleen Klopher serves a pair of customers at Maple Tree Deli. (Barbaraellen Koch photo)

Among my favorite places to eat, are the greasy spoons, delis and other places where you just don’t know what to expect from the outside. Then you leave saying to yourself, “Why had I never tried that place before?”

Maple Tree Deli on West Main Street in Riverhead is one of those places.

It’s called a deli, and yeah, I guess it is, but not like any other one around. The focus here is southern barbecue — and they get it right.

Maple Tree's smoked wings are $11 a pound (about 11 wings) and come with a side of chipolte sauce.
Maple Tree’s smoked wings are $11 a pound (about 11 wings) and come with a side of chipotle sauce. (Barbaraellen Koch photo)

Ribs, chicken, pulled pork, pork shoulder and beef brisket (a personal favorite) are among the options. Breakfast specials are also served all day, including a great pastrami hash.

Maple Tree owner Kevin Judge worked in luxury hotels in Manhattan, dreaming of his own place. He’s nailed it with this unassuming BBQ joint in Riverhead, which is quietly becoming the hamlet with the greatest variety of food options on the North Fork.

Bonus Tip: Ask for a side of each of their sauces when you’re there. I love mixing the horseradish and the sweet barbecue. You’re welcome.

Here’s how you get to Maple Tree

Just look for the smoker in the front and you've found this place you should try. (Barbaraellen Koch photo)
Just look for the smoker in the front and you’ve found this place you should try. (Barbaraellen Koch photo)
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