New upgrades making the iconic shopping village – in addition to the location’s well-known resturant and catering businesses – a hot spot once again
(Long Island, NY) Hidden away behind the historic Milleridge Inn in Jericho is a quaint and fabled collection of shops collectively known as the Milleridge Village – a truly unique and special place recalling a simpler, more innocent time in American history – and while threatened by development in recent years, Long Islanders can rest easy now, as the Village is not only here to stay, but it will soon be better than ever.
Hidden away behind the historic Milleridge Inn in Jericho is a quaint and fabled collection of shops collectively known as the Milleridge Village. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
The Milleridge Inn was first built in 1676; in 1961 it was purchased by James Murphy and from that point forward functioned as a well-known restaurant/catering hall. The Village was added in the 1950’s incorporating paved walkways leading to little shops including a florist, bakery, ice cream parlor, general store, and more. Over the years it became a popular family-friendly destination, and a community of artists, musicians, and vendors peddling all manner of hand-made goods sprang up amongst the pleasant environment that recalled colonial-era America in its trappings.
The Milleridge Village incorporates paved walkways leading to little shops including a florist, bakery, ice cream parlor, general store, and more. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
However, in recent years, both the Inn and the Village struggled, and rumors sprang forth of an impending sale to a developer, a sale that would eventually result in the historic site being torn down to make way for retail and office buildings. However, those rumors only proved to be at least partially true; with the Murphy family retiring, the property was indeed sold to Kimco Realty, a New Hyde Park-based developer. However, in May, Kimco listened to the concerns of the community and preserved both the Inn and the Village, entrusting their day-to-day operations to the newly-formed Milleridge Ventures in a move supported by both Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay.
The Milleridge Village is a popular family-friendly destination, featuring a community of artists, musicians, and vendors. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
The new general manager of the property, Rich Wykerd, said that the core aspects of the Milleridge’s business – the restaurant, separate catering hall, and Village – will not only be maintained and kept open, but they will all be receiving a host of improvements as well, sure to please not only long-time attendees, but new customers as well.
“We started construction on all the party rooms after we took over in January of 2016. We re-did every room while keeping the same feel, and we also recently completed our first phase of construction on the grand catering hall that can hold up to 500 people,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. I come from a restaurant background rather than a catering background, so it’s also a great learning experience for me.”
General manager Rich Wykerd said that the Village – in addition to the rest of the Milleridge’s properties – will be getting a facelift and exciting new additions. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
But while the first round of improvements are centered upon the Milleridge’s restaurant and catering business, Wykerd noted that there are a slew of exciting changes slated for the Village as well, including converting the Old Carriage House at the far end of the Village into a wine and tapas bar, as well as opening a micro-brewery later this year. In addition, a greater variety of food will be offered in the Village, which Wykerd said has been one of the biggest requests he’s received from the public.
“We’re also going to be re-opening one of the empty buildings in the village and selling burgers, hot dogs, waffles, anything you can think of,” he said. “A lot of people are asking for that, and we want to give it to them.”
Customers shopping inside of the Milleridge Village’s general store. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
In another attempt to drum up interest and raise the Milleridge’s public profile, Wykerd also recently created a weekly Custom Car Show, held in the large parking lot behind the Inn every Wednesday evening from 4:40 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants are welcome to come with their fancy hot rods and classic cars, park in the lot, and engage with their fellow vehicle enthusiasts while taking in the sights and sounds of the picturesque Milleridge Village right next door.
Classic car enthusiasts parking in anticipation of the Milleridge’s weekly Custom Car Show. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
While initially only expecting 60 cars or so when the show first started in mid-June, Wykerd said he was shocked when he discovered over 380 vehicles packed into the lot for a recent event. Plans are to continue running the Custom Car Show for as long as the weather will permit – possibly as far as the end of September – and to continue it going forward as an annual event.
“This was my idea I just wanted to bring people back to the Mill Ridge Inn, so I thought a car show is a great idea,” he said. “I remember as a kid going to the Nathan’s car show in Long Beach, and that was every Wednesday, so I figured, why not? This is an iconic location…there was a lot of talk amongst the Long Island community that we were closing and were going to demolish it, and it’s only because of Long Islanders that we’re still here and thriving.”