PURDYS, N.Y. – The Purdys Homestead has had many incarnations since its 18th century origin. During the last 50 years it has been the prestigious Box Tree Restaurant, later to become Purdy’s Homestead Restaurant, and most recently John Michael’s.
In less than a week it will re-open as Purdys Farmer & The Fish, a family restaurant specializing in moderately priced fish dishes, home-grown vegetables and an ample raw bar.
Supporters of the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library got a special treat on Saturday evening when more than 50 people assembled for the restaurant’s first private party.
Owner, Edward Taylor said the grand opening is next Saturday at 6 p.m. “We’ll start off with friends and family on Friday night,” he said.
“The building was almost in a dangerous situation,” said North Salem resident, Linda Farina. “Ed came along and restored the historical parts so sensitively. He cleaned and preserved and brought out the important pieces.”
Almost all the interior walls have been taken down to create a large, apparently square open space, with the massive stone chimney at its center. The former trio of fireplaces remains, each serving a different section of the restaurant. A new zinc bar runs the length of the outside wall at the right of the entry and a few leather upholstered seats face the bar fireplace.
To the left of the entry, a long banquette hugs the outside wall. A few dozen marble-topped tables fill the remainder of the open area.
“Very little of the building’s 18th century fabric was left,” said North Salem historian and horticulturist Robert Treadway. “What the renovators took out was not original.”
“We found a huge amount of artifacts,” he added, digging into his pockets and bringing out brass buttons, antique buckles and “a silver button from 1750.”
The Katonah architecture firm of VKS, known locally for the restoration work at Old Salem Farm and the Bedford Hills Women’s Prison, designed the Homestead renovation.
Architect Viktor Solarik explained, “We opened up the floor plan to bring back the old character of the framing. We restored the stones of the chimney, we refinished the beautiful chestnut floors. We put in new bathrooms and heating and ventilation and an all-new kitchen. But we didn’t do much with the outside because it’s a landmarked building.”
Purdys Farmer & The Fish, at the intersection of Routes 22 and 116 in Purdys, will be open seven days a week. Reservations are not taken.