The Scoop: Devin and Marybeth Mills opened Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room over a decade ago as a testament to the beauty of the Catskills and healthy, farm-to-table dining. The restaurant is rustic and casual, and the menu offers delicious cuisine. Locals and tourists alike find community and a wonderful ambiance at the restaurant. It’s the perfect place for a date night after a day of exploring the Catskills.
When Devin and Marybeth discovered the old farmhouse that would become Peekamoose, it had been converted into a restaurant outpost for a local spiritual ashram. A setting for the transcendental meditation to congregate, the farmhouse was a place of unity and peace, and was decked out in Asian and Indian art from Rudi‘s famed collection.
The couple sought to redesign the space into a different type of gathering place — one that serves good food, provides peace to customers, and keeps them coming back.
Located just two hours away from Manhattan, the Catskills region is filled with hiking trails, rich wildlife, and ski resorts. The region is not only beautiful and tranquil but also packed with history, making it the perfect destination for a day trip out of the city.
After exploring the outdoors and wandering through mountain towns, Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room is a great place to round up your trip. Located near Big Indian’s forest preserve, the restaurant combines the best of the outdoors with delicious, farm-to-table cuisine prepared by a staff that treats diners like family. Peekamoose was opened by Devin and Marybeth Mills, who abandoned a life in Brooklyn to open the restaurant in a renovated farmhouse.
Experience Community at Peekamoose
On the surface, Peekamoose is a rustic, quirky restaurant decorated with taxidermied animals, wall art, a fire pit, and a treehouse. Underneath the funky decor, the restaurant is a place of community for both employees and restaurant goers. The restaurant is kid-friendly, with features like the indoor treehouse and the option to toast marshmallows at the outdoor fire pit.
Furthermore, it’s a happy place. Many employees have been at Peekamoose since the opening of the restaurant 20 years ago. “It’s a very stable environment,” Marybeth said. “Very much like a family.”
Marybeth grew up in the restaurant business in the ‘80s, so she is no stranger to a toxic workplace and high employee turnover rates in restaurants. “I’m very proud that we have such a great crew that I legitimately enjoy seeing every day,” she said. That love of the workplace translates into the quality of the food and the service presented to customers. The staff aims to make all diners feel like family, and the enduring popularity of Peekamoose speaks to their success.
Peekamoose’s Dynamic Menu Never Fails to Impress
The Catskills are inundated seasonally with hikers, skiers, and resort-goers coming from New York City. The couple said they realized the region desperately needed a modern dining alternative that rivaled restaurants back in New York. They succeeded: The travel guide Escape Brooklyn dubbed Peekamoose “the ‘Gramercy of the Catskills’” in reference to the esteemed New York fine dining establishment.
That success can be attributed to the inventive and delicious menu, which has changed multiple times over the years. Braised beef short ribs were popular for the first 18 years of the business, until Devin and Marybeth decided to take the ribs off the menu due to pandemic-related staffing shortages and price increases. The dish was replaced with a vegetarian alternative to beef tartare called roasted beet tartare. They also have a zucchini “fazzoletti,” which is a roasted eggplant, vegan ricotta, and tomato confit dish arranged into a lasagna.
Keeping with the theme of community at Peekamoose, the menu accommodates both picky eaters and experimental diners. For the former, the Housemade Radiatore Bolognese and Oven Roasted Snowdance Farm Chicken are great options. And for more adventurous eaters, Peekamoose serves everything from Crispy Frog’s Legs to Wood Grilled Octopus. The dessert options are also mouthwatering. The Housemade Brioche Donut comes with apple cider glaze, cinnamon sugar, and housemade vanilla ice cream, and would be the perfect end to a romantic date in the Catskills.
Celebrate Creativity and Nature with Your Partner
Devin and Marybeth’s creativity and resilience is evident the second you enter Peekamoose. The restaurant is the product of a lifelong shared dream to own a restaurant, and the couple was willing to sacrifice to make that dream a reality. When the couple first moved from Brooklyn to the Catskills, they lived above the restaurant with only a fax machine, an old heater, and a six-pack of tuna fish to their name.
This carefree attitude and passion for all things food has carried the restaurant for 20 years. Today, the couple brings true meaning to the phrase farm to table and gets recipe inspiration from “whatever comes up out of the ground,” according to Marybeth. “There’s a local elementary school, and they have a little garden to teach kids, and Devin will sometimes go into the garden, let the kids harvest whatever’s in the garden, and cook it right there,” she said. The couple then creates dishes around the elementary school garden, so the kids can see that they can plant a seed and turn it into a delicious meal.
Marybeth and Devin’s commitment to making Peekamoose a part of the community instead of just another detached resort restaurant makes it a special place for a night out. Beyond collaborating with the local school, Marybeth and Devin have relationships with local farmers and vendors, whose products have become staples of the ever-changing menu. They’ve succeeded in preserving the natural charm that defines the Catskills, while bringing fine dining restaurant standards from their old life in Brooklyn. For a date night that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed yet pushed out of your comfort zone, Peekamoose is the place to go.