The historic Old Mill Inn in Mattituck won’t be reopening this spring as usual.
After 10 years, the current owners of the inn have decided not to reopen.
“It’s time for someone else to come in and work their magic,” said Bia Lowe, the last remaining partner actively involved in managing the restaurant. “The Old Mill needs someone new to steward it and take it into the future,” Lowe said. “It’s a great place.”
Lowe was one of nine partners who purchased and opened the restaurant in 2006. Only two of them had any experience in the business.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m of a certain age,” Lowe said in a phone interview from her home in San Fransisco this afternoon. “It’s getting harder to do it physically. My bandwidth is getting narrower,” she said.
Lowe, a poet and author, is looking forward to getting back to writing.
“I feel like I have maybe a decade or so of good writing muscle left,” Lowe said. “I want to take advantage of it. I’ve been out of the practice of writing and I want to open myself to that process. It’s not something I have been able to do while running the restaurant.”
Running a restaurant is consuming work, Lowe said. “It was never my passion,” she said. “I love to eat, but I’m not about the restaurant business.”
The restaurant is newly listed with Sheri Winter Clarry of Corcoran Real Estate.
The Old Mill Inn was built in 1820 as a mill. In the early 1900s the mill was converted into a tavern, Lowe said. The dining room was built in about 1910. Like a lot restaurants and taverns, the Old Mill was used by bootleggers during Prohibition.
“There’s a little space where I think the trap-door to an ice room was, right outside the kitchen doors, where boats could pull up and either load or unload their hooch,” Lowe said.
“The whole creek has a history of bootlegging,” she noted.
“That’s the thing about the Old Mill. It’s the challenge for any owner. The Old Mill
has so much personality,” Lowe said. “It has its own brand. You have to respect that and steward it, rather than try to totally recreate it from the ground up.”
Lowe sent an email out today announcing that she wouldn’t be reopening the restaurant this spring. “There’s been such an outpouring from so many people, customers and staff,” she said.
“A restaurant isn’t just about what you dish up for people. It’s a relationship that goes both ways. There’s a sweet relational quality your customers find there,” she said.
“It’s like coming home.”