A Christmas miracle befalls the Milleridge Inn.
As an update to my recent post on the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, where the fate of the historic inn was in jeopardy, I couldn’t be happier to report that this iconic restaurant has now been saved!
Thanks to Save the Milleridge Inn Facebook page founder, Sheila Doherty, petition organizer James Muller, 17,000 supporters and retiring restauranteur Owen Smith, the Milleridge Inn will continue to reign as one the oldest continually operating food establishments in the United States.
At the end of this month, 78-year-old Owen Smith is set to retire from running the inn which his family, the Murphys, owned and ran for more than 50 years. The business had been sold to Kimco Realty, a New Hyde Park-based real estate investment trust that owns several strip malls. Owen worked with representatives of Kimco in a desperate search to find someone who would keep the iconic building and grounds as a restaurant. This past fall, the chances of it happening seemed slim.
In October, more than 75 Milleridge workers, some who have been there for over 30 years, received layoff notices. It was a somber time at the restaurant, and it occurred right before the Christmas season, which the Milleridge is best known for.
Plainview native Sheila Doherty stepped up and formed a Save the Milleridge Facebook page in August, which currently has over 5,000 likes, and Merrick Native James Muller started a petition. People from all over Long Island responded, and before long 17,000 supporters signed up. The petitions were presented at various meetings with Kimco.
As of Friday, November 27, Owen Smith was proud to announce that another restaurant owner has stepped in. The Dover Group, a catering company that operates the Coral House in Baldwin, decided to take it over. Smith was quite pleased, claiming Dover has a lot of experience and he has known them for many years.
The Dover Group plans to leave everything just the way it is: same menu, same décor, same country shops and, best of all, the employees get to keep their jobs! Reservations are already being accepted for the new year, and the restaurant carolers, who are in their 45 season, really have something to sing about.
With all the bad news going around these days, it’s nice to see a story that has a happy ending. Best of luck to Owen Smith on his retirement, and congratulations to James Muller, Sheila Doherty, and the rest the supporters who helped save a wonderful part of Long Island’s history.