Cazenovia, N.Y. - Four longtime employees have quietly taken over The Brewster Inn in the past year.
The two chefs and two managers didn't exactly plan to keep the news on hold. In fact, the transition with the former owners, Patricia and Richard Hubbard, has been underway for years, the new owners said.
So when the official handover happened last June, the four co-owners - who together have 50 years of experience at the Brewster - didn't make an announcement. They just kept working to keep the weddings, small conferences, lakeside evenings and celebration dinners going year-round on Cazenovia Lake.
"We wanted to put people's worries to rest," said Caitlin Gambee, one of the four new co-owners of the change at the century-old venue.
Now, nearly 10 months into the change, much is the same at the Brewster, which Wine Spectator has given a "Best of Award" designation to yearly since 2009.
Chefs Stephen Franks and Jason Wright are still in the kitchen at dinner time and on the grounds during the day, plowing snow and mowing and maintaining the estate. Kirk Gibson, the front-house manager, is still helping the chefs and individual guests pair wines with foods. Gambee, the hotel manager, continues to oversee the inn's 17 rooms. She also directs the inn's communications and even bartends some nights.
They're also considering expanding their chef's table series through the summer - and into that spruced up garden.
The chef's table started last winter, Franks said. One of the two head chefs, or chef de cuisine David France, cooks dinner for 20 to 25 people. The guests talk with the chef during preparation; occasionally he enlists their help.
"It's like they're in the kitchen," Franks said. A recent dinner focusing on Irish food including five courses and cost $60, not including tax, alcohol and tip.
Franks said he'd like to extend the series through the summer. It'll be a challenge - that's also the busiest time of year.
Other specials will continue. Monday is burger night. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, diners can bring their own wine with no corkage fee. Thursdays includes a selection of discounted wines. Fridays include fried fish.
"We want people to know you can come and have a burger and a drink," Gambee said. "We love that people celebrate here. But the view is still the same, no matter what you order."
The Brewster Inn was built in 1890 as the summer home of financier Benjamin Brewster. In 1988, the home was opened as The Brewster Inn. It's entered into the National Register of Historic Places.