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The Dimon Estate (Credit: David Benthal)

Jamesport Manor Inn has returned with a new look, new menu, new name and an interesting nod to the property’s storied past.

Now known as The Dimon Estate, the restaurant’s reworking is the brainchild of Chris Kar and Emily Hammond. Kar wanted to make the menu more accessible, while Hammond focused on mining the history of the building and the surrounding property, which was owned by the shipbuilding Dimon family for 200 years. 

Returning customers will immediately note that the restaurant has a completely new paint job. The familiar yellow theme has been replaced with nautical white and blue.

“Just by painting the walls white, changing the lighting fixtures, and giving it splashes of blue, it’s created a much brighter atmosphere,” Kar said. 

There are reminders of the Dimon family’s shipbuilding legacy throughout, including in one of the dining rooms, where a clipper ship model sits proudly on the fireplace mantle, built by Hammond’s uncle, Frank Corbo. Some of the artwork on the walls is by well-known North Fork photographer Conor Harrigan, a lifelong friend of Kar and his family. Another local artist, Kara Hoblin, contributed a drawing of a classic clipper ship. Other North Fork touches in the restaurant include high-top pub tables in the bar area by Lumber + Salt.

The menu includes entrees like duck, fluke, chicken and pasta, as well as steakhouse-style cuts including filet mignon, venison and swordfish. The lunch menu, available at the bar all day, has more casual fare like a burger with a Black Sheep Pretzel bun, turkey club, ham and cheese toastie and more.

Kar expects the menu to evolve.

“It’s comfort food right now, for the wintertime,” he said. “It’ll change throughout the seasons. I’m going to continue to play with the menu, and we’ll have staples on there that really won’t change and are very much classic Americana food, or flavors. And then I’ll play with other items so that if you come here in April, and you come here in September, there are going to be different options for you.”

As the seasons change and the farms are ready, Kar will use as many local ingredients as possible. Even in these cold winter months, he’s sourcing locally where he can, including Jamesport-based Black Sheep Pretzels and Aquebogue’s Crescent Duck Farm. 

Hammond worked with Terra Vite Vineyard’s Jessy Fusco to develop the beverage program, which includes both a blend of local wines and wines from other regions.

“Because the Dimons had access to this international world at a time when most people weren’t leaving their hometowns … we wanted to bring in [international] wines,” said Hammond, who noted there are Italian and Chilean options on the menu.

Hammond, who studied history in college, wanted to incorporate the Dimon family’s long and colorful past into the restaurant. She and Kar met with local historian Richard Wines to learn more about them. 

“We sat and talked and had this awesome dialogue,” said Hammond. “How do you take history, make it relevant to the public and make it interesting?” 

The upstairs area is a real tribute to that history, with old shipyard photos and framed newspaper clippings. Kar and Hammond also left the upstairs with its old color scheme to maintain a more historical feel.

Coming up in the warmer months, Hammond, who is also a horticulturalist, plans to plant produce and flowers around the lovely property, as well. 

“We’re going to be putting in a chef’s special garden,” she said. “We can have fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, things that are just super easy to run out and grab. They always taste better.”

The Dimon Estate (370 Manor Lane, Jamesport) is now open for lunch and dinner. Make reservations online.