Art on the Plate: Old Yarmouth Inn
Owner: Sheila FitzGerald • Chef: Regina Castellano
Since 1696, the Old Yarmouth Inn has been a welcome site for visitors near and far along Route 6A in Yarmouth. When it opened in 1696, the inn was used as a wayside inn/stage stop. Though they stopped housing guests in the historic house in 2007, visitors are still made to feel right at home.
The entire inn is a piece of history, evidenced by the “Red Room,” the oldest room in the building. Despite its stately history, the Red Room features some of the most contemporary artwork, by Joanne Hughes. Hughes was a local artist who was one of the first 12 people to visit when Sheila FitzGerald took over the inn. After Hughes passed away a few years ago, FitzGerald wanted to honor her, so her paintings decorate the most historic room in the house. The welcoming front of the inn will remain untouched and inviting, thanks to its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
As for seasonal changes, FitzGerald notes that the inn maintains a steady amount of guests in the colder months. “We’re lucky because we have our wood-burning center fireplace that’s sort of like a pied piper—it draws people in with its aroma,” she says. During the cold season, guests flock to the more casual side of the restaurant in order to be closer to the wood-burning stove. In the spring and summer, however, the larger, more formal dining room becomes the hotspot with its sunroom-style panoramic windows, allowing warm rays in, and views overlooking FitzGerald’s gardens.
“Inn” at the end of the name was kept to honor the building’s history, and even though the “Inn” part is no longer, guests can still stay a while and experience a menu like no other. Executive Chef Regina Castellano has made the Old Yarmouth Inn menu a culinary journey. With an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, Castellano aims to bring new takes on old favorites. For example, she enjoys making her take on an age-old favorite, surf and turf. What is usually a hunk of meat paired with a piece of fish becomes a photo-worthy masterpiece of tuna tartar with avocado and wasabi soy on top of cracked black pepper carpaccio, all topped with more avocado, watermelon radish and shaved parmesan cheese. FitzGerald believes the food and service at the Old Yarmouth Inn have reached their pinnacle under the guidance of Castellano, and this dish is just one prime example of her fresh perspective.
When asked about her favorite part of coming to work every day, FitzGerald laughs and says, “Since Regina started? The food! And, it’s like working with your family. We have a lot of laughs, so coming to work never feels like a chore.”