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Assorted dishes from Founders Tavern. (Photo credit: Lilly Parnell)

Low on attitude, high on warm welcomes — Southold’s Main Street pub is an easy-going staple.

The gist: Since 2006, owners Eric and Susan Russell have served up some of the best hospitality in the heart of the North Fork. Along with their dedicated staff, the husband-and-wife duo have created an inviting space for both locals and visitors to enjoy a cold draft beer or crushable cocktail and a menu of hearty, happy-making choices.

The vibe: Founders Tavern has nailed the friendly American pub parameters. The space is divided into two sections: Tap Room and Grill Room. The Tap Room is the brick bar area. It boasts a selection of over 30 micro-brews and local wines and has two large TVs, perfect for watching the big game. The Grill Room is a more traditional restaurant dining room, with a cozy, dimly lit tavern atmosphere that’s great for a quick lunch or evening meal. 

The food: Down-home American classics mingle with more ambitious European and Asian flavors, resulting in an array of bites for any mood. The menu relies on simple yet flavorful ingredients to create dishes you’ll find yourself craving for days afterward. 

Burgers, burgers, burgers: What embodies American cuisine more than a burger? Founders has their patty recipe down pat. Ground fresh daily, their juicy offerings are ample. Their Famous Burger can be customized to whatever you’re craving with lettuce, tomato, your choice of cheese, raw or sautéed onions, mushrooms and hot peppers. There are also optional  add-ons of avocado, bacon or fried onion straws. Their steakhouse burger is marinated for several hours and comes with crumbly, creamy bleu cheese and  crispy fried onion straws and is nestled on a fluffy toasted potato roll from Blue Duck Bakery down the road. Each burger is served with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries, house-cooked potato chips, onion rings, a side of mixed greens or coleslaw. 

Italian Roots: Italian influences can be spotted in every category on the menu. One of our favorites is the chicken Milanese, which provides a crispy fried chicken breast smothered in fresh arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion and balsamic glaze, served with buttery linguine.  

Apps for days: Here, ordering a spread of starters counts as a full meal to share among a table. There’s a plate for everyone’s taste,  from steamed chicken and lemongrass dumplings seared in a ginger citrus glaze to melt-in-your-mouth marinated filet mignon tips with garlic toast and creamy horseradish dipping sauce. There are also classic loaded potato skins smothered in Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, a sprinkle of raw onion, chopped crispy bacon and a side of (what else?) sour cream. 

Founder’s Tavern 
55500 Main Road 
Southold, 631-765-3100

Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m.
Sundays noon to 9 p.m.

Instagram: @founderstavern11971