LIVONIA – A much-anticipated one-day sneak peek of the Hook & Spoon restaurant and bar at the north tip of Conesus Lake is July 3 from noon to midnight, just in time for the Ring of Fire.
At the heart of the Hook & Spoon at 5870 Big Tree Road in Lakeville is a tight-knit professional family with staggering combined ability with food and drink. Owner and Chef Andy Penner says that the soul of their fare, all made from scratch in-house, lies in its source, simplicity and quality, and the soul of the place lies in the lake, its charm and its people.
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“We will open our doors for a preview party on the third featuring a few of our signature dishes, then fully opening when we can,” said Penner, also owner and chef at the famed Rabbit Room in Honeoye Falls.
The feel is ‘eclectic cottage,’ designed by Owner Alison DeMarco. A 1954 Penn Yan boat hangs lazily high above the bar. An American flag conspicuously rests on a bench along the wall. Dozens of little ‘spider lights’ dangle in the air like fireflies. Untold hundreds of pennies hug pillars in the main dining room. The huge windows look out on nearly the full length of Conesus Lake and the sky.
As for the food itself, Penner says that location is key to providing ‘French countryside dishes with a Conesus Lake twist,’ part country, part city, part vacation.
“If it can be obtained locally, it is obtained locally,” said Penner. “Part of what makes The Rabbit Room is what I call the ’10-mile rule.’ If at all possible, any ingredient will be grown or raised within 10 miles of this place. Food is a little piece of you. It makes a big difference when it comes from the soil you live on directly to your plate. There is nothing that I will get frozen, put in an oven and put on your plate.”
The vast majority of the Hook & Spoon’s ingredients for the kitchen and bar come from their friends at local farms: Lighthouse Garden in Lima; Seven Bridges Farms in Lima; Honey Hill Farm in Livonia; Gobbler Ridge Farm in Portageville; and others.
More than half of their beer, wine and liquor is made in New York State.
“We don’t have customers. We have guests,” said Chad Lipson, Bar Manager and Sommelier, who will exercise the ‘locally lost art’ of mixing cocktails from ingredients made in-house, from scratch. “We’re inviting people into our home. Andy, Alison and I live on the lake. We are taking everything that we know and giving it to our neighbors.”
Local craftsmen have breathed new life into the furniture itself. The tables and benches are barn wood repurposed by Raph Cratsley of Livonia. The bar and counters are made of horse-logged silver maple provided by Bill Castle, who sadly passed away before the Hook & Spoon’s sneak peek party.
The team considers itself a family, eager to start serving guests after pouring their souls into the Hook & Spoon over the past year: Owners Penner, DeMarco and Derek Robertson; Bar Manager Lipson; and General Manager Miguel Ortiz.
“It was The Rabbit Room that brought us all together,” said Penner. “Miguel I’ve known since I was 12 growing up in West Henrietta and I just met Chad, born and raised on Main Street Geneseo, a couple months ago. After years of travel, training and practicing the food and drink creation that we love, this feels like a homecoming for all of us. We are blessed to have the opportunity to be here and give all of us here on the lake a place to be proud of.”
The Hook & Spoon pulled strings to be allowed to open for their sneak peek party on the 3rd, utilizing The Rabbit Room staff to serve alcohol. There will be a grand opening once they obtain their liquor license.
Stay tuned for more.