In a shocking turn of events, Spicy’s, the oldest barbecue restaurant on Long Island, recently closed its doors. The once-iconic establishment on West Main Street has been the talk of the town ever since signs appeared in its windows, bearing the disheartening message of temporary closure. While rumors circulated among patrons, attributing the closure to a chicken shortage, the restaurant owners remained tight-lipped about the situation. However, the truth gradually emerged, unraveling a tale of financial struggles and uncertain futures.
A Troubled Legacy
Spicy’s, which had graced the Long Island culinary scene since 1978, faced an uphill battle in recent years. The original founder and co-owner, Terry “Spicy” Stoner, revealed to the landlord, Dee Muma, that the closure marked the end of an era. The gas and electricity had been shut off, and possession of the property was soon to be relinquished. With these developments, it became evident that Spicy’s might not make a triumphant return.
A Fading Connection
The phone number associated with the restaurant now leads to a dead end, marked by a recorded message stating that it is no longer in service. Desperate for answers, some sought contact with the Stoner family, only to find conflicting information. Josie Stoner, Terry’s daughter and a long-serving employee, initially admitted to cleaning the premises, hinting at a permanent closure. However, she quickly retracted her statement, offering only cryptic remarks and reinforcing the air of uncertainty.
Past Challenges and Persistent Debt
A Close Call
This recent closure was not the first time Spicy’s had faced adversity. In April 2018, the New York State sales tax authorities seized the restaurant for failing to pay sales tax, resulting in a hefty debt of over $229,000. The temporary closure lasted for weeks until a payment plan was negotiated, allowing the restaurant to resume operations by mid-May. Unfortunately, their second location in Bellport never recovered from the setback.
Despite their resumption, the financial struggles persisted. As of June 18, 2021, a remaining balance of $95,711 from the 2018 sales tax warrant continued to cast a shadow over Spicy’s. Additionally, another sales tax warrant, issued on October 28, 2020, added fuel to the fire, with an outstanding balance of $9,024.71 as of the same date. It seemed that the mounting debt, coupled with other challenges, had ultimately taken its toll on the beloved barbecue joint.
Farewell to an Era
Spicy’s BBQ, once renowned for its delectable smoked meats and vibrant atmosphere, has faded into the annals of Long Island’s culinary history. While the exact circumstances leading to its closure may remain obscured, the struggles faced by this iconic establishment serve as a stark reminder of the difficulties encountered by small businesses. As the doors of Spicy’s close, it is a solemn reminder that even the most cherished culinary institutions can succumb to the relentless pressures of the industry.
Caption: Josie Stoner, longtime Spicy’s employee, whose father Terry ‘Spicy’ Stoner and brother, Rick Stoner, own the restaurant. File photo: Peter Blasl
In the wake of Spicy’s departure, Long Island’s BBQ enthusiasts now seek new havens to satisfy their smoky cravings. While the legacy of Spicy’s will forever hold a special place in the hearts of many, culinary landscapes are ever-changing, constantly giving rise to new and exciting experiences. As we bid farewell to Spicy’s BBQ, we await the next gastronomic triumph that will captivate our taste buds and evoke the same sense of culinary nostalgia.
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