Marybeth and Devin Mills, proprietors of Peekamoose, treat people right. From guests to staff to vendors, everyone receives the same level of attentive care. A culinary beacon prominently placed on every list of top restaurants in the Catskills and Hudson Valley, Peekamoose has become a destination and a community hub—a home away from home—for locals, weekenders, and daytrippers, alike. As Marybeth says, “You come into my home, I'm going to take care of you.”
The Mills bring that thoughtfulness to their menu, too, which changes daily and is comprised of real, honest, good food, based on the bounty of the season, thanks to their nearly familial relationships with local farmers and vendors, even craft brewers. “We're loyal to them and they're loyal to us. That’s how it works,” Marybeth says.
That’s been the vision from the very beginning. Devin, a Catskills native, spent his formative years working at Maggie’s Krooked Cafe and Last Chance Antiques and Cheese in Tannersville. He went on to graduate from the famed Culinary Institute of America. Marybeth graduated from Boston University with a degree in hospitality management before attending Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne, Switzerland, furthering her knowledge of food and wines. For two decades, the two honed their skills at some of Manhattan’s finest eateries with some of the most revered teachers in the industry: Gramercy Tavern, michelin-rated Le Bernardin, the Hudson River Club, Picholine, Guastavino’s, and the BR Guest Restaurant Group. A pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Devin “exalts relationships with farmers and vendors.” A philosophy of respect for staff, vendors, and guests became second nature to the Mills while working at Gramercy Tavern. “It really resonated with us,” Marybeth says. “Because, of course, that’s how you treat people.”
When they found the farmhouse for sale in Big Indian, in 2003, on a trip to visit Devin’s mother in Haines Falls, it was the culmination of a shared lifelong dream. The building had sat empty for several years. Marybeth says, “Mushrooms were growing from the walls and animals were living inside.” In another lifetime, it had been Rudi’s Country Kitchen, a beloved community restaurant and outpost of the spiritual ashram down the road, known for tomato sprout sandwiches and coffee toffee pie. The Mills set to work resurrecting the place. They created a different kind of mecca—one of great food, drink, and an atmosphere that puts people at ease and keeps them coming back.
The interior is the creation of Shawn Patrick Anderson of ACME Studios, a long time friend of the Mills. Using only “found objects,” the restaurant’s design seeks to “bring nature inside” with handmade lighting fixtures and bar shelves created from fallen branches and logs, and wall treatments from discarded furniture. The result is a comfortable, quirky environment, equally appropriate for both casual nights out and special parties.
Along with employing 32 people, some of whom have been with Peekamoose for 10-15 years, the Mills continue to support the local community through philanthropy and events.