It’s that time of year when leaves start turning upstate, painting the trees with bright hues of red, orange, and yellow. And it’s also the time when city folks feel a strong compulsion to witness this spectacle in person. One of the best places to do so is along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail that runs through Westchester on a ridge overlooking the Hudson River — and a new barbecue restaurant nearby is a stunning way to dine during a fall excursion.
Revenge BBQ, a Texas-style barbecue restaurant started by Jacob Styburski and his wife Catherine, has only been open for about six months. Visiting the trail recently, a friend and I assayed our dining opportunities in the town of Irvington, the best place to intercept the trail and famously the former home of Madame C.J. Walker, a beauty entrepreneur and philanthropist who was the wealthiest African-American woman in America. But my eye quickly fell on the new barbecue establishment that hadn’t been open on a previous visit. Could it be any good?
Well, it was. We carried out a brisket sandwich that blew us away, the meat edge-blackened and heavily-crusted with salt and pepper. It was nicely marbled with fat and as smoky as brisket gets. We took our hike with thoughts of brisket still dancing in our heads. When we returned to re-board the Metro North Railroad train to go home, we stopped to eat at Revenge again. This time, we got a couple of sausages, including a beef ring imported from Kreuz Market and a locally made pork sausage with chunks of gouda inside. Both were delicious.
The potato salad and coleslaw were also tasty, but I didn’t much like the pulled pork. But then, I rarely do. Unfortunately, by four in the afternoon they were out of pork ribs. Damn! Still, we descended to the train station mightily satisfied.
It’s an easy trip to get up to Revenge and the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, and the trail itself is well worth the visit. It’s a tree-shaded path that passes several remarkable mansions along its route, offering views of the river down below. (Walk up Main Street from the train station, passing a recumbent statue of Rip Van Winkle, till you get to Aqueduct Lane on the left. Follow the lane to its end, take a jag left around a fence, and you’re on the trail.)
After this trip, we vowed to return to Irvington before winter sets in — and not just for the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.