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Nookies is Silver Sands Motel’s newest eatery. (Photos by Lilly Parnell)

Nookies, an intimate eatery at the Silver Sands Motel, opened at the beginning of October, offering a contemporary twist to New York diner nostalgia. 

Nestled in the Southwest corner of the motel, Nookies is a 1950s-inspired restaurant serving up elevated takes on diner staples. Guests staying at the property and anyone looking for a quick bite are invited to dine on nostalgic diner-style dishes.  

“We always like to look through the lens of our heritage while also seeing how we can add a contemporary twist,” said Ali Tuthill, the executive director for Silver Sands. “The space was a snack bar in the late 1950s. When we were going through our renovations, we discovered the old bar here and it just made sense to bring that back to life.” 

The iconography of Silver Sands’ heritage is evident throughout the modest restaurant, especially within the restaurant’s logo, which sees the motel’s seahorse mascot wearing a chef’s hat along with a fork and spoon. 

“The brand [has been] iconic since 1957,” added Tuthill. “[The motel] played a really important role in a lot of people’s lives and that is the kind of legacy we wanted to carry forth while still making it relevant to today’s kind of traveler and diner.” 

Mint green swivel barstools and bright orange ceramic mugs complement the paneled wood bar and mid-century modern chairs throughout the dining room. This combination of curated vintage and modern decor conveys a sense of stylish familiarity that welcomes patrons to indulge in playful menu items.

Nookies prides itself on fresh homemade food made with local ingredients. (Photo by Lilly Parnell)

On the menu is chef de cuisine Christopher Roderick’s homage to the old-school style diners he grew up eating at across New York State. From chocolate milkshakes to tuna melts on rye and tomato soup with grilled cheese soldiers — quite literally in the shape of tiny soldiers thanks to a man-shaped cookie cutter — Roderick relies on fresh and high-quality ingredients from around the North Fork to elevate the flavors of each dish. 

“It was important for us to keep the menu fun and approachable,” said Roderick. “We are putting forth fun and innovative flavors that are still things that you recognize, but maybe it’s an ingredient that you might not know of, or that you haven’t cooked with. We have a lot of like little moments on the menu that are familiar, but new.”

The kitchen is centrally located in the dining room, offering a soda counter-style eating experience. Patrons sitting at the counter can see who is preparing their food and even chat with the cooks during their visit. Roderick, who has been a part of the industry for over 10 years, is excited to have such a one-of-a-kind work environment. 

The counter gives guests a unique chance to see inside a working restaurant kitchen and chat with chefs. (Photo by Lilly Parnell)

“The fourth wall is totally broken,” said Roderick. “I’ve always hated how we’re always tucked away in the kitchen. Here, we’re on full display. Everything is made in-house and seeing [that] allows people to let their inhibitions melt away.” 

Roderick also notes how the open-air kitchen allows for the culture of positivity he cultivated among his staff to thrive. 

“It’s really special because English is a second language for many of my cooks, and this gives them the chance to practice,” explained Roderick. “We look after each other and also make sure that the guest is honored during each aspect of the experience.” 

Nookies is open to all on Wednesdays through Sundays from noon until 8 p.m. Find the entire menu and more information about Silver Sands on the motel’s website. Silver Sands Motel is located at 1400 Silvermere Rd, Greenport.