The 2018 Dan’s Best of the Best Celebration was filled with exciting moments, from Claude’s Restaurant at the Southampton Inn taking home five awards in its first year to the incredible multi-media concert performed by East End legend Paul Mahos. However, the crowning moment was the announcement of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees: Artist Daniel Pollera and century-old steakhouse Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar.
Established in 1896, Tweed’s and the 14-room J.J. Sullivan Hotel that sits above it are considered to be the oldest restaurant and hotel in Riverhead, and longtime owner Ed Tuccio, who’s raised bison for more than 35 years and served them for more than 20, has done a great deal to preserve the Riverhead steakhouse’s Victorian-era charm and history. “For the most part, we’ve lost that. I’m trying to revive it,” he says.
Featured inside the warm and inviting restaurant are impressive relics of the past, including a mahogany and marble bar, originally constructed for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, that now hosts Long Island’s widest selection of bourbons, photos of historical figures such as Ernest Hemingway and William McKinley, a San Juan Hill campaign medal that belonged to Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and the head of the last bison the former president ever shot.
The sophisticated menu boasts a diverse range of locally sourced produce, seafood and top-quality meats—including rarities like bison, elk, Muscovy duck and quail. Dishes include Shrimp with Guacamole, Quiche du Jour, Baked Salmon, Aquebogue Duck Wraps, Roasted Rack of Lamb, Sesame Seared Sashimi Tuna, Filet Mignon of Beef, Roasted Chicken, Peconic Bay Scallops and plenty of others. Tuccio’s personal favorite dish is the roasted quail stuffed with wild rice on a bed of sautéed spinach, but the oysters on the half shell shucked by Southold Seafood Market’s Charlie Manwaring are a close second place.
With a name like Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, most guests come in eager to try the steak house’s bison burgers and steaks, however, once they lay their eyes on the menu, they’re shocked to discover that the eatery has a bevy of creative bison dishes to try, including the Bison Reuben, Bison Chili, Bison Cabbage Soup and Grilled Bison Kebabs. No matter which meaty meal a guest chooses, they can guarantee it’s made with only the highest USDA prime graded meat. “[Our clientele] know what good meat is. You’re not gonna fool them about meat,” Tuccio says.
Even more surprising than the massively diverse menu is that all of the bison meat comes from Tuccio’s North Quarter Farm, a mere three miles away. “As I hear when I’m speaking with the customers, a lot of them don’t know that the bison are raised down the road,” Tweed’s team member Kim Kelly says. “They’re not aware that this is truly a farm-to-table restaurant.”
Once one gets a taste of the bison, and is subsequently hooked on the delicacy, they can call and order their own cut of meat to cook for all of their friends and neighbors at the next backyard barbecue.
Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar is located at 17 East Main Street, Riverhead. Call 631-237-8120 or visit tweedsrestaurantriverhead.com to check out the full menus, order bison and more.