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Milleridge Inn operators vow renovation of restaurant, shops

Anthony Capetola holds a reproduction of a marriage

Anthony Capetola holds a reproduction of a marriage certificate dated Dec. 3, 1741, from a ceremony held at the historic Milleridge Inn, during a news conference at the venue in Jericho on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Capetola and Butch Yamali, left, are the new operators of the inn. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Butch Yamali and Anthony Capetola, new operators of the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, said they intend to make a multimillion-dollar investment in renovating and upgrading the well-known dining outfit, including its cottage and village shops.

Yamali and Capetola, speaking before a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the storied inn Wednesday, said they would do “whatever it takes” to get the site back into the shape it was decades ago. Planned improvements include fixes to the facility’s plumbing, renovation of all restrooms, the replacement of some roofs and floors, and upgrades to the site’s electrical and HVAC systems. They didn’t specify the expected cost.

“We plan on investing as much as is necessary to bring it to the level we want to operate at,” said Capetola, a Williston Park attorney and operator of The Carltun, a dining venue in Eisenhower Park. “When I came in and started visiting it in anticipation of bidding on it, I found it was worn and old and tired. We want to revitalize the situation without changing the core of the place.”

Yamali, president of the Dover Group, a restaurant and catering business in Freeport, said the pair plan to keep the menu essentially the same — including the dining outfit’s well-liked popovers — but plan to experiment with daily specials and social media promotions to attract more young customers.

The new operators, joined by elected officials inside the inn’s dining hall, thanked the efforts of local activists Sheila Doherty and James Muller. The two took to social media last year through a “Save the Milleridge” Facebook page to raise awareness over the uncertain fate of the property. An online petition was also created, garnering nearly 17,000 signatures in support of keeping the Milleridge in business.

Kimco Realty Corp., a New Hyde Park-based real estate investment trust and the largest owner of suburban shopping centers in North America, bought the property from former owner Owen T. Smith for $7.5 million in April. Smith, whose family owned and operated the Milleridge for over 50 years, retired at the end of 2015.

“I don’t think we could have asked for better [restaurant operators] than Butch and Tony,” said Doherty, who along with Muller received certificates and plaques of appreciation from both Nassau County and the new owners.

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