On the lodgings-deprived East End, the opening of a 20-room hotel with a fine-dining restaurant is big news: The Preston House & Hotel, on East Main Street in Riverhead, is now taking reservations for both bed and board.
The property was developed by Ronkonkoma-based J. Petrocelli Contracting, which also owns the Long Island Aquarium and the Hyatt Place East End hotel, both right across the street in Riverhead, as well as Raphael Vineyard in Peconic. It aims to take advantage of Riverhead’s location as a pit stop on the way to Hamptons beaches and North Fork wineries. Rooms are outfitted with king-size beds with luxury linens, Lavazza espresso machines and free Wi-Fi. Said executive director Jennifer Petrocelli, “The hotel is . . . bringing a new luxury to downtown Riverhead, the mouth of the North and the South Fork.”
Until Memorial Day, room prices are $219 (for a studio on a weekday) to $479 (for the corner suite on a weekend. After Memorial Day the prices will range from $329 to $809.
The newly constructed four-story hotel is situated directly behind the historic 1905 home built by Civil War veteran and Suffolk County’s first salaried sheriff, Henry H. Preston. This gracious structure, which lent its name to the whole enterprise, now serves as The Preston House restaurant. With 88 seats (and more added outdoor in warm weather) it serves elevated New American dishes using, when available, local and / or organic ingredients.
After a complete renovation, the restaurant boasts an intimate bar, 850-bottle wine cellar, and three private dining rooms. Beamed ceilings, shiplap paneling, and crisp gray upholstered chairs and banquettes give the restaurant a simple but sophisticated look.
Executive chef Matthew Boudreau, a veteran of Vine Street Café on Shelter Island and the Baron’s Cove Inn in Sag Harbor, brings an East End farm-to-table sensibility to the menu. East coast oysters ($18 for six) are served with a daikon-scallion mignonette and cocktail sauce. House-smoked bacon ($17) comes with tomato-mustard-seed jam and local microgreens. Chowder ($14) is made with local clams and potatoes.
No East End menu is complete with out tuna tartare. Preston House’s version ($23) has citrus and whipped avocado. Main courses are rustic-elegant: Shinnecock sea scallops with smashed celery root ($34), pasta with veal and pork Bolognese ($30), and a prime strip steak with sautéed greens, porcini stew, and hand-cut fries ($44).
The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday to Monday.
The Preston House and Hotel is at 428 East Main St., Riverhead, 631-775-1500, theprestonhouseandhotel.com