By Jeffrey Slonim
|Ben Towill and Phil Winser|
In the midst of the rebirth of Ruschmeyer’s, tables from Second House Tavern—its previous incarnation—crowd the parking lot. “It’s a great space,” says our guide, co-owner Ben Pundole. “But it was always underutilized.”
Pundole was previously with Ian Schrager Company and then Morgans Hotel Group for 11 years. With interior designer Robert McKinley (Gold Bar, The Surf Lodge), he recently formed King & Grove Hotels to develop resort properties with Ed Scheetz. Together, they operate The Surf Lodge.
Ruschmeyer’s was originally built in 1952 as a three-acre nautically themed summer retreat with guest cabins, complete with an iconic neon sign. McKinley transformed the damaged pool into a beer garden with Ping- Pong tables and pétanque courts.
“For the restaurant, we’re partners with Phil Winser and Ben Towill from Silkstone [catering], who also have The Fat Radish in New York,” says Pundole. “They’ll be preparing a locally sourced, vegetable- and fish-heavy menu similar to their restaurant in New York.” Gregory McCarty will serve as executive chef.
The two British chefs not only look like models, their menu offers up animal and vegetable magnetism—not to mention sexy drinks. Try mussel, ham and leek pot pie; wood-oven roasted monkfish; or homemade banana bread with elderflower lemonade (made with vodka, mint and lemongrass) or a basil and grapefruit margarita with a hint of chile simple syrup.
We segue through an orange hallway to The Electric Eel Disco, a nautically flavored redo of the property’s ’60s disco. On Fridays and Saturdays, DJs will play music from the ’50s through the ’80s, plus later cuts. Instead of bottle service, guests will be served from vintage punch bowls. Out back, Pundole asks us to imagine, “lanterns hanging down… kids running around with feathers in their hair blowing bubbles.” (Adding to the homespun appeal, Madewell will be hosting a series of “Crafternoon” events featuring everything from traditional craft projects to styling sessions.) Sturdy L-shaped wings house 19 cabins in four buildings, the first of which will be devoted to a wellness center that will offer massage, manicures and body wraps. “We’ll have a long list of activities: sea kayaking, biking, sailing,” says Pundole. “And we want the treatment room to make it all right again.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ADRIAN GAUT (COCKTAIL, FOOD); JOE TERMINI (TOWILL, INTERIOR, EXTERIOR)