New BBQ Eatery
Has Ties to History
By DAN SULLIVAN
Our area’s newest barbecue restaurant, Maplewood BBQ and Spirits, takes its name from that given by original owner John Tunnicliff to the mansion built on his estate in 1760, which included a huge tract of land covering what is today parts of Otsego and southern Herkimer counties. At that time, Maplewood was in Tryon County; Otsego would not be formed until 1791.
Restaurant owner John Yule, also a partner in the Knotting Hill Farm wedding venue in Jordanville, has done his research on the mansion that houses his new eatery.
“The fireplace was part of the original kitchen. And the crane to hold pots is also original,” he pointed out.
Original hand-hewn beams are also visible in many rooms. Throughout, the stonework is impressive, lending a timeless, secure atmosphere.
Maplewood BBQ and Spirits, located at 3939 on State Route 20 in Richfield Springs, has been open to the public for a little over a month. Yule originally intended the Maplewood estate for lodging.
“What changed my mind were the local residents who would stop in and say things like, ‘You’ve got to open a restaurant here,’” Yule said.
He engaged the services of Kevin Berberick, nickname “K-Dog,” a locally renowned barbecue chef. The crowds came immediately. One recent evening saw the parking lot fill up in minutes, with cars parked for hundreds of feet along State Route 20.
And the crowds are not coming for mere ambiance. Diners are enjoying the large variety of barbecue offerings, but that is not all. As Yule develops the menu, more and more entrees—including eggplant parmesan, quesadillas, and salads—are being added. Large groups can also be accommodated in the banquet room, which holds up to 100.
“We were able to get a few company Christmas parties booked,” Yule noted.
One remarkable aspect of the restaurant owner’s approach is his attitude to other Richfield-area businesses.
“I want to see us all thrive. I want Maplewood to be a catalyst for all our prosperity, not a competitor,” he said.
Thus, no pizza yet from the imported wood-fired pizza oven.
“Until I get a local partner who will benefit from the activity, I’ll hold off,” Yule said.
Well worth a trip, Maplewood BBQ and Spirits is open every Thursday through Monday at 4 p.m.
“The fireplace was part of the original kitchen. And the crane to hold pots is also original,” he pointed out. This fireplace was constructed by my father (John H. Manion) and my older brother (Daniel G. Manion) in the 1960s.
Thanks for this! We will share this information with the new owner.