BROOKLIN — Two friends are well into their first year of ownership at the Brooklin Inn and focused on serving fresh, seasonal fare at the newly renovated property.
Pi Piraeus and Jenny Lewandowski and their husbands, Peter Collier and John Lewandowski, purchased the inn, which includes a dining room and pub, from longtime owners Chip and Gail Angell in April of 2019.
The new owners had been friends for many years. Collier and John Lewandowski went to George Stevens Academy together. So, the foursome looked for a business opportunity they could do together.
Jenny Lewandowski is doing the cooking. She most recently worked at Aragosta in Stonington before the group opened for business at the inn in June of 2019.
Lewandowski said the emphasis is seasonal food. She focuses on incorporating seasonal ingredients into the menu as much as possible.
In the depths of a Maine winter, that can be a challenge.
A frequent question is “What can I do with beets and kale and other root vegetables?” Lewandowski said. “We’re focused on making it ourselves or getting it locally. Seasonal is the emphasis.”
The pair are sourcing ingredients from Maine farms and local producers as much as possible, including beef and produce from Misty Brook Farm.
There will be a special Valentine’s Day menu for Friday, Feb. 14. The main course offerings that night will include mushroom risotto, seared scallops, Wee Bit Farm ribeye and Misty Brook Farm lamb chop.
Valentine’s Day dessert offerings will include a pavlova with vanilla meringue, cardamom cream, pomegranate and candied almonds or chocolate olive oil cake with chocolate ganache or caramel ice cream with bittersweet chocolate sauce.
“The food production happening in this area is really special,” Piraeus said.
Scallops, in season, are purchased from a fisherman down the road.
“We’re making yogurt and ricotta,” said Lewandowski.
Speaking of yogurt, the inn is serving Sunday brunch this winter in the dining room from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A few of the brunch selections include waffles with Maine maple syrup and butter or Greek yogurt, house applesauce, maple and sesame seeds.
A farro bowl features Northspore wild mushrooms, braised greens, arugula pesto, sunny side egg and house fermented hot sauce.
There is a winter salad with radicchio, escarole, dill, fennel, Seal Cove herbed goat cheese, toasted pepitas and red wine vinaigrette.
Dinner options include chicken schnitzel — fried chicken with parsley oil lemon caper aioli and roasted Yukon gold potatoes with arugula salad or Milkweed Farm duck confit, which includes lentils, mirepoix (carrot, onion and celery) and smoked sausage.
Burgers are also available as is a grilled flatbread with seasonal vegetables or pepperoni, quick pickled jalapeño, hot honey and San Marzano tomato.
“She’s amazing,” said Piraeus, a San Francisco native, about her business partner’s food.
Lewandowski is also making desserts, as well as sourcing some from Milkweed & Monarch Baking Co. in Deer Isle. That’s the enterprise of pastry chef Kim Kral, who had previously been doing business as Basic Kneads.
Lewandowski said this upcoming summer, there will be espresso and pastries from Milkweed available at the inn on the screened in porch.
The two are also trying to determine what customers want. Special events are possible at the inn for birthdays and other celebrations.
“We always love hosting special events,” Lewandowski said. “It’s kind of full service. We do the food and Pi [Piraeus] does the flowers.”
“We’re going to be doing a Valentine’s dinner,” said Lewandowski. The two also are planning wine dinners.
Both mothers, the friends compared running a new business and the attention it requires to having children.
“It really does feel like having a new baby,” Piraeus said. “But it’s rewarding too.”
Dinner is available Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. in the pub.
If you’d rather sit in the dining room, dinner is served there on Fridays and Saturdays — same menu as the pub. There are wines by the glass and bottle, cocktails and Maine beers available as well.
Perhaps a Lemon Thyme Spritz to brighten up winter? That drink features Tito’s vodka, lemon, thyme syrup and soda.
The Brooklin Inn is located at 22 Reach Road, 359-2777 or www.brooklininn.com.