In Southold, Long Island, sits the celebrated North Fork Table & Inn, set in a historic 19th century home. The building’s two-story colonnade has long saluted those passing by on Main Road, and when Chef John Fraser acquired the restaurant and inn in early 2020, he knew he needed to pay homage to the building’s history.
Fraser brought on architect Andrew V. Giambertone, designer Thomas Juul-Hansen and landscape architect Paul Keyes to interpret the historical architecture while simultaneously revitalizing it into a modern farm-to-table experience. The new design—which includes two outdoor patios, an airy, open interior that allows for plenty of social distancing and a picnic area with a food truck—is a lesson in finding balance between vintage and contemporary. Luxe spoke to the design team about how they accomplished this.
Taking on a historical renovation is a huge challenge. How did you approach it?
Thomas: The goal with this design was to make it feel like it’s always been there. It was important to retain the original feel of an 1800s country home. By relying on natural materials, we were able to design a space that feels both country and modern and, most importantly, timeless.
To that point, it seemed materials really were a driving force.
Andrew: This is where the true genius of Thomas, as well as the Fraser team, is evident. The natural materials, such as stone, wood, plaster and steel goes hand in hand with the farm-to-table mentality. They exude the ambiance of the original building along with a quiet elegance and sophistication.
That same farm-to-table mentality applied to the local craftsmen you worked with.
Thomas: We were fortunate to work with some of the best teams in Long Island. Heidtmann & Sons, who were the builders, have a hundred years of local construction experience. They knew the landscape inside and out. All stonework was executed by Precision Stone, whom we consider the absolute best in the industry. They executed the bar from the most beautiful slabs of Arabescato Corchia Marble sourced from another local business, ABC Worldwide Stone. Steve and Jonny Donadic handled all the millwork and much of the custom furniture. We really had the dream team for this project.
Could you describe the experience of visiting the restaurant?
Andrew: The vision was to create a feeling of serenity as well as spaciousness. There was careful consideration given to the seating layout, as well as the variation of seating types ranging from simple custom tables and chairs to spacious banquets (which have proven to be a customer favorite). There was also a tremendous amount of care given to the quality of the lighting. I love every aspect of the design, but if I had to pick one favorite it’s the bar. The magnificent curved marble face, warm lighting and sumptuous banquets are just so inviting and rich.
Of course the farm-to-table experience wouldn’t be complete without an exterior that honored its surroundings.
Paul: I wanted guests to have a journey when entering the restaurant. The walkway was enlarged and designed so that customers could stroll through a garden around the new outdoor dining space, generating excitement and anticipation. Successful landscape designs are about emphasizing architecture, and more importantly, not distracting from it. The plantings are representative of traditional Long Island landscapes, creating a familiar feeling. The gardens, fencing, lighting and plantings were designed to put the North Fork Table and Inn on a stage and the performance is the dining experience.