Dark Horse Restaurant owner Dee Muma has purchased the Spicy’s Bar-B-Que property on West Main Street and she says the restaurant will remain open.
The deal for the property, a 1-acre space which stretches from Main Street to edge of the Peconic River, was finalized March 16 for an undisclosed amount, Ms. Muma said in an interview Thursday afternoon.
Ms. Muma dispelled rumors that she would look to close the beloved barbecue joint, saying the iconic Riverhead restaurant isn’t going anywhere.
“No, no, no, no, no,” she said. “Spicy’s is to remain, and all I plan to be is a customer.”
She added that the president of Spicy’s, Rick Stoner, will continue to operate the restaurant privately.
“It’s Spicy’s,” she said, “There will be no ‘Dark Spicy’s.'”
The deal had been in the works since last fall, but was only completed after an environmental study of the property was finished.
Ms. Muma, who was named the News-Review’s Business Person of the Year in 2010, said she insisted on waiting for the environmental study to make sure the land wasn’t contaminated with pollutants before she made her purchase.
“The last thing I wanted to do is to have something that would pollute the river,” she said.
The Spicy’s property marks the latest purchase by Ms. Muma and her husband, Ed Tuccio, who also own the adjacent Tweed’s Restaurant. The Riverhead residents purchased the three-story Dark Horse building in 2009 and renovated it, creating five live-work duplexes on the upper floors and opening the downstairs restaurant in 2010.
She also purchased the adjacent building on Peconic Avenue that same year and plans to create an art studio and gallery on the first two floors, with about five efficiency apartments on the third floor.
Ms. Muma said she was motivated to buy the Spicy’s property because she sees opportunity in owning an iconic section of riverfront property as the town grows.
“For a long time, Riverhead was a punchline,” she said. “People are starting to realize now the value and beauty [of the town].”