The duo of Keith Castro and Lanai Monahan have taken to the job of running the Essex Inn.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to come in here, play and do what we do,” said Castro, who has worked in the food business for Culinary Health Innovations of Plattsburgh and Cafe Mooney Bay. “We had been in communication with the Daltons (owners) about the opportunity and it is something we had been looking for. This is the right place to do what we do.”
Castro said he and Monahan focus on local purchasing when it comes to their restaurant as well as marketing the inn and community to a broad base of potential visitors.
“We want to really show people what Essex is about and make it a destination throughout the entire year,” Castro said. “I have been doing business with some of the local farmers for years. These guys work hard. Above and beyond that, they have the best quality products I can get my hands on. When we make that connection and work to buy local first, then we can really help to build these communities up.”
For the inn, Castro said he and Monahan consider themselves part of the amenities.
“There is not a lot of do-it-yourself,” he said. “It’s just about the service for us. We want people to be comfortable here. Even if that means warm cookies at night, we can make a batch for them.”
Over the past four weeks, Castro said he has been honing his menu options and looking for creative dishes that the community and guests will enjoy.
“The people have really welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “We see a lot of opportunities here to provide services throughout the year. You need a gathering place like the tavern here can provide, even if it is just a place to get a glass of wine. People come together here and have conversations.”
The inn is open for dinners from 5 until 10 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. For more information, call 963-4400.