Restaurants can come with baggage. Kevin Kessler and Gina Windisch-Kessler discovered that upon purchasing what was then called the Blue Point Bistro and Grill, a long-standing Blue Point eatery, in the summer of 2016.
The Kesslers tweaked the name, rebranding the place the Blue Point Oyster Bar and Bistro. But that subtle name change never really worked — and so they have renamed it again, to the Corey Creek Inn.
“A lot of people couldn’t look past the Blue Point oysters, and thought we were just a seafood restaurant,” said Kevin Kessler, a longtime local chef and caterer who had run the Backstreet Burgers food truck with his wife before taking over the place. “And ‘bistro’ was reminding them of the old owner.”
Their new moniker, Corey Creek Inn, bears no relation to Southold’s Tap Room at Corey Creek (formerly the Corey Creek Winery); instead, the Kesslers chose the name to evoke local place names. “We live on Corey Avenue, and our boat is in Corey Creek. And everyone knows Corey Beach,” Kessler said.
The new name comes with a revamped menu, too. Together with chef du cuisine Rick Doxsee — a former chef at various Lombardi’s locations — Kessler reduced the seafood quotient on the menu, adding dishes such as burrata with prosciutto and grilled pears ($10), coffee-rubbed strip steak with Bulleit bourbon butter ($30) and root beer-braised short ribs ($24).
Seafood maintains a presence, though: Customers will still find a raw bar menu, plus dishes such as lobster-filled potato skins ($12) and seafood Fra Diavolo ($26). In the expanded bar is a vodka-centric cocktail list, Blue Point Brewing Company beers on tap and 12 wines by the glass.
“We want people to feel like part of the family when they’re here,” Kessler said.
Corey Creek Inn, 154 Montauk Hwy., Blue Point; 631-363-6000. bluepointoysterbar.com