Coming from a long lineage of priests, Benjamin Brewster chose to follow his own path. After becoming an equal partner with John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Company, he built his summer home, The Brewster Inn, in 1890. Over the last 30 years, there have been many additions to the property such as the covered patio, permanent docks, a terraced lawn with fire pits, rocking chairs, and an outdoor bar. Current Chef Owners Jason Wright and Stephen Franks strive to continue the tradition of maintaining the structure’s original appearance and preserve The Inn’s rich history.
A Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRona) award-winning restaurant, The Brewster Inn is known for providing superior experiences, outstanding service, quality food, and an old-world, gilded age setting. What draws customers to The Brewster Inn other than the stunning lake view, beautiful antique décor, and depth of history is the devotion to all things fresh. There may be a small window for peak-fresh ingredients, but the chefs at The Brewster Inn find the time and resources to change the menu four to five times each year. The menu highlights seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors and farms as much as possible. Customers can see chefs picking herbs from the onsite garden during the afternoon and can expect to see those garnishes on their plates that night. The herb garden provides the freshest rosemary, thyme, tarragon, sage, and more from August through October.
The commitment to freshness doesn’t stop there. The culinary professionals at The Inn create all menu items from scratch. Executive Sous Chef Stephen Franks, who has worked at The Inn for 17 years, noted, “A lot of restaurants get away from creating items from scratch because it’s time-consuming and labor intensive, but we feel like it helps us create the best products, and we take pride in that.” Homemade gnocchi, fettuccini, and ravioli are among the couple hundred pounds of pasta that are made from scratch each week. At The Inn’s market, customers can also find house-made bread and made-from-scratch ice cream. Forty varieties of ice cream ranging from Mocha Toffee Chip and Bourbon Pecan to Jalapeño Candied Bacon rotate on a monthly basis.
Open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Brewster Inn market gives guests the opportunity to purchase their favorite prepared items to go. All chefs are trained to work in the market and offer the best service, especially to local customers who regularly come for cooking technique advice and recipe ideas. Products in the market are portioned equally to the menu so that once the market closes, the products that weren’t sold can be used to prep for dinner service, ensuring all products are served fresh, and nothing goes to waste. Fish, shellfish, and crustaceans are among the 6 tons of fresh fish sold to the public at the market and on the menu each year. The Brewster Inn sources their seafood from Maines’ Hopkins and Indian Ridge purveyors. Chef Franks and Owner/Executive Chef Jason Wright, who has worked at The Inn 20 years, speak highly of their longtime partnership with their Maines Territory Manager.
Franks said, “We’ve had the same salesman the last 14 years, and his loyalty and the products Maines provides are amazing. The produce program is outstanding – they let us know exactly where the local produce comes from. We can get a truck here nearly every day. Working with Maines ensures consistency and quality for us as well.”
Specials are the number one sellers at The Brewster Inn. They’re crafted with help from the Maines team who keeps The Inn up-to-date on what’s hot and trending. Customers are drawn to a variety of dishes across the menu such as the Truffle Encrusted Honolulu Big Eye Tuna with balsamic teriyaki, shichimi aioli, sautéed spinach, and fresh handmade pasta, but the specials are the most popular and are often sold out before the day is half over. In the summer, diners are tempted by the outdoor oyster bar with its variety of seasonal selections and often enjoy them on the outside terrace with lawn seating overlooking the lake. Guests can also dock their boats at the lake to stop and enjoy a quality meal with beautiful scenery at The Inn.
The Inn’s 17 beautifully appointed guest rooms, five of which have breathtaking views of the lake, attract guests to celebrate their weddings or special occasions. Each room contains elegant antiques mixed with modern conveniences. Dining rooms in the mansion accommodate both small and large parties and each has its own distinct character. The enclosed porch provides waterfront seating in a white tablecloth, fine-dining atmosphere, and the tavern offers a more casual vibe and is enhanced by exquisite woodwork and floor-to-ceiling wine racks, a perfect space for wine lovers.
The Brewster Inn’s wine cellar is valued at about $500,000 and consists of more than 600 selections. It takes about two days to count the entire cellar inventory. The Brewster Inn has been a Wine Spectator magazine award-winning restaurant since 1992, and from 2009 onward The Inn has also received the coveted “Best Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator.
Guests who dine and stay at The Inn often claim that every single meal is outstanding. From the high-quality seasonal cuisine and the phenomenal service, to the impressive made-from-scratch creations, The Brewster Inn will continue to go the extra mile to satisfy customers’ palates and exceed their expectations.