Old Mill Inn

Archives: July 2016

Chef Old Mill Inn Mattituck

Young cooks take over the Old Mill Inn in Mattituck

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After digging into the lobster roll, the tuna steak or the crab dip appetizer at the Old Mill Inn, you might ask to send your compliments to the chef. But, strangely, there isn’t one to thank.

For the first time in at least a dozen years, the restaurant has no head chef. There’s no sous chef either.

General manager Alexandria Lopez said she and co-owner Bia Lowe had trouble finding someone to fill the seasonal position, so they decided instead to hire four local students — including a Riverhead High School senior, a Mattituck native and two local culinary students — to serve as line cooks, giving them a paid gig and experience working and cooking in a restaurant kitchen.
And the students are thriving, said Ms. Lopez, who oversees them in the kitchen.

“They’re almost pros now,” she said. “So far, they’re exceeding my expectations. They take a lot of pride in what they’re doing and they constantly want to learn new things and get better and perfect the craft of cooking all the things we have on our menu.”

Ms. Lowe said the experience — which is unlike anything she’s done before at the restaurant — has been like “stepping off the lip of a cliff.”

“But there was a wonderful net there,” she said. “There’s a real sense of camaraderie and friendship and love. They’re proud of what they’re doing and they’re proud of each other.”

Ms. Lowe said it was important to find local students to teach, adding that the four line cooks — Ashley Becker, Jiar Pereyda, Sharrise Martin and Victoria Perez — have learned to expertly cook everything on a menu that ranges from classic fried fish options to more experimental items like Lobster Tater Tot Poutine and Penne à la Bia.

“Working with our manager, they’re [gaining] experience,” Ms. Lowe said. “And it’s certainly working out for us, because everyone’s really liking the food

The four go to work last Friday. (Credit: Paul Squire)
For all four cooks, the work behind the grill at Old Mill Inn is their first professional restaurant experience.

“It’s pretty different, transitioning from Wendy’s to a traditional restaurant,” said Ms. Becker, a 20-year-old from Mount Sinai who studies baking at Suffolk County Community College. “It’s an amazing feeling, getting that rush, prepping the food and the fastness.”

Ms. Becker learned of the open position through a job fair at her school, and said she was inspired by Ms. Lopez, who, despite being only 24 years old herself, has already managed several restaurants.

“She’s an inspiration,” Ms. Becker said.

Mr. Pereyda, 20, of Holbrook is also a culinary student at Suffolk County Community College. “JP,” as he’s called in the kitchen, had job offers on the table from other restaurants, but decided to make his start at the Old Mill Inn.

“Something told me to stay here,” he said. “It’s a real exciting experience, especially in here. [Ms. Lopez] is always motivating us and encouraging us.”

Not all the line cooks aspire to be chefs. Ms. Martin — an 18-year-old Riverhead High School senior — said cooking has always been a part of her family in Flanders. She plans to study chemistry in college and said she’s enjoying her time at the Old Mill Inn simply because she loves to cook.

“I never really cooked seafood before, so it was kind of fun to do it,” she said. “The people are really friendly and I’m learning to do stuff that I haven’t done before.”
At 22, Ms. Perez is the oldest member of the line cook team. A Mattituck High School graduate, she said she wants to get into event planning. After seeing an ad for the opening in The Suffolk Times, Ms. Perez said she realized a spot in the kitchen at the Old Mill Inn could be a first step.

While she enjoys cooking, Ms. Perez said it’s the camaraderie among the young cooks that keeps each grueling shift fun.

“We all just kind of joke around with each other and keep things light,” she said.

As the dinner rush began Friday afternoon, the crew was hard at work. Ms. Becker prepped a batch of fries as Ms. Perez cleaned shrimp. Mr. Pereyda manned the grill and gathered supplies while Ms. Martin prepped a salad.

The crew would shift places throughout the night; each of them has trained to work every part of the kitchen, so they can adapt to the needs of the restaurant as customers stream in.

Still, despite the heat of the kitchen stoves, the crew was smiling.

“Every night at the Old Mill it’s them cooking,” Ms. Lopez said. “[It’s] the busiest part of the day and they’re executing it flawlessly.”

This article appeared in the northforker.com by by


Dining Done Right on the North Fork in Mattituck

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Dine Right on the North Fork in Mattituck

When it comes to summer on Long Island, finding a spot to dine al fresco—one with good vibes and gorgeous views—is the name of the game. The glistening sight of the Long Island sound is reason enough to come to Old Mill Inn on the North Fork. Add in a menu that emphasizes Long Island ingredients, all-day dining from noon-9pm, live music and the option to sit at the beach, on the deck or in the dining room or pub area and you’ve got more than enough reasons to become a regular. Pull up a seat, stool or boat and know you can’t go wrong with five food-and-drink pairings hand-picked by the customers.

Location: The Deck
Dish: Beet Greek Salad
Drink: Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc

Keep it light with a Greek Beet Salad image: david benthal photography

Keep it light with a Beet Greek Salad. image: david benthal photography

A hearty meal is nice, but come summer sometimes our comfort-food cravings diminish. After all, views like the one of Mattituck Inlet you get on The Deck at Old Mill Inn are enough to put us in a serene state of mind. When you’re in the mood for lighter fare, nosh on a Beet Greek Salad at a table with a brightly colored umbrella on the deck. This is no bland plate of greens, either. Raw beat, granny smith apples, red onion, oregano, feta cheese and red wine vinaigrette have the salad bursting with fresh flavors, and the addition of grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or tuna ($7) will give you a satisfying protein fix. A fresh, crisp glass of white North Fork wine like Lieb Cellars Pinot Blac pairs perfectly with the lighter dish. 

Location: The Dining Room
Dish: Southern Sweet Tea Chicken with your choice of sides like fresh local corn on the cob
Drink: Shinn Estate Vineyard Mojo

Have your favorite BBQ fare in a beautiful North Fork dining room image: david benthal photography

Have your favorite BBQ fare in a beautiful North Fork dining room. image: david benthal photography

Light wooden chairs and amazing views make The Dining Room at Old Mill Inn ideal for taking mom or indulging that special someone. The food is delectable, and the atmosphere is as unpretentious as the North Fork. Ask for your favorite backyard party meal, chicken with corn and veggies (and if it’s your cheat day, order that chicken fried). Straight forward but delicious, it goes wonderfully with a glass of neighboring Shinn Estate Vineyard’s Mojo that’ll help you wind down after a long day. Rumor has it red wine is just as good for you as an hour at the gym.

Location: The Beach
Dish: Long Island Clam Bake
Drink: Sodas in sippy cups for the kids; Bridge Lane Rosé for adults

old mill inn

It’s not summer without a clam bake. image: david benthal photography

On Sundays, light acoustic music plays at The Beach but other than that owner Bia Lowe likes to keep the area quiet, allowing the North Fork waters to provide the ultimate soundtrack. Whichever day you choose to enjoy some easy listening, put a nostalgic spin on things by ordering a clam bake for two. A dish made for sharing, the clam bake includes 12 littleneck clams, lobster tail, unpeeled shrimp, red potato, corn on the cob and Andouille sausage and will have you remembering beach days with Dad. Old Mill Inn is family-friendly, and that includes your dog, so give the pup a small taste of sausage, order some sodas in sippy cups for the little ones and get reintroduced to summer’s favorite vino: rosé. North Fork winery Bridge Lane’s is for the sipping.

Location: The Pub & The Beach for $3 Happy Hour
Dish: Oysters and clams
Drink: Local beer, wine or the cocktail of the week

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Old Mill Inn’s Happy Hour boasts deals you thought you’d never see post-college: $3 beverages and $1 oysters and clams. image: david benthal photography

No, that’s not a typo. In the “things you didn’t think you’d ever see again after you graduated college” category, Old Mill Inn offers a $3 happy hour weekdays in The Pub or at The Beach. Sip local beer and wine from Crooked Ladder Ceiling and fellow Mattituck residents Eastern Front Brewery, Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane. If you’re in a cocktail state of mind, opt for a Guava Margarita with chipotle sea salt on the rim as you eat the fish of the moment, oysters, or switch it up by ordering clams for $1. Yes, really, $1. 

Location: The Pub
Dish: Fish and Chips
Drink: Murphy’s Irish Stout or Stone Delicious IPA (Low Gluten)

Old Mill Inn does pub food (and vibes) right image: david benthal photography

Old Mill Inn does pub food (and vibes) right. image: david benthal photography

Dining outside is quintessential summertime fun, but sometimes the elements just aren’t in your favor or, in the case of Old Mill Inn, the live music on a Friday night is just too good to pass up. Whatever your reason, pull up a stool at The Pub bar and order yourself some fish and chips. At Old Mill Inn, the classic pub dish comes complete with generous helpings of slaw and fries. Beer is the obvious drink pairing, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from like Murphy’s Irish Stout or Stone Delicious IPA, which is low in gluten.

Hungry? Get in touch with the North Fork favorite at oldmillinmattituck.com or by calling 631-298-8080.