Spicy’s BBQ, Riverhead’s iconic barbecue spot, closed its doors around two weeks ago.
The restaurant, located on a one-acre riverfront property on West Main Street, has posted signs saying it is “temporarily closed.”
Terry “Spicy” Stoner owns the business with his son Rick Stoner. The restaurant had been operational since 1978.
Landlord Dee Muma, who bought the location in 2012, said in a recent interview that she doesn’t believe the closing will be temporary.
“When it’s going to be temporary people don’t turn off the electricity and turn off the gas,” she said.
Ms. Muma said she hasn’t received the keys to the location but that the restaurant’s phone has been disconnected. She also said she’s been having difficulty contacting the owners.
“I would have called them myself if I could have; none of the phones are being answered,” Ms. Muma said. “I hope I learn more in the future but that’s all I know now.”
The restaurant was closed once before, on April 24, 2018, when it was seized by New York State authorities for nonpayment of sales tax.
According to state tax warrant information posted online by the state Department of Taxation and Finance, the debt was over $222,600. As of June 27, the current balance on the 2017 sales tax warrant was $95,858.02.
The owners had worked out a payment plan and reopened their Riverhead location mid-May of that year. At the time, they had a second location in Bellport, which remained closed.
A second sales tax warrant posted online by the Department of Taxation and Finance from Jan. 13, 2021, showed a debt of over $74,000. The balance on that warrant was $9,038.54 as of June 27.
Like many in Riverhead, Ms. Muma is sad the restaurant is gone.
“I feel very sad because the family had worked very hard for more than 40 years to have a lovely, iconic chicken place that also had fabulous ribs,” Ms. Muma said. “It was a go-to for everybody in town and I’m sorry it’s gone.”