First built in 1824 as a grist mill on the Schroon River, the historic building was first imagined as a restaurant in 1976. Owner, Nancy Fitler, and chef, Barbara McLaughlin, created the structure and foundation of what The Grist Mill Restaurant has become today. Keeping the much of the industrial structure and pieces of history throughout the building, Fitler and McLaughlin set the tone for what the restaurant would be for years to come.
Upon first being purchased, Fitler extensively renovated the building in order to create a suitable dining environment. Contractor John Mason and foreman Howard Lockhart tore out and rebuilt foundations, jacked the building 15 feet up with steel beams, and added a sea wall to keep the high river waters from flooding the building. In an article dating back three decades ago, Fitler noted that the wheels of The Grist Mill, which supplied the water power to the mill, are “vintage from 1806” and “considered the oldest metal wheels in existence.” The restaurant also houses an authentic, colonial fireplace and a deck overlooking the breathtaking Schroon River. The rustic, elegant atmosphere gives customers a peek into history and is an incredible tribute to the very beginnings of the town of Warrensburg.
Many original artifacts are strewn throughout the restaurant, making it is as much a museum as it is an eatery. In fact, previous chef Shane Newell installed a museum section in the restaurant so customers could truly have a sense of what came before the fine dining establishment. Since its inception, many aspects of The Grist Mill have remained the same, and chefs and owners to come would keep things as they were.
The building has passed through the hands of some extraordinary chefs including Newell and the late Chris Lambeth. Like the very first chef to take over the establishment, Newell and then Lambeth executed delectable dishes paying homage to classic American cuisine with rich influences from European cooking. Entrée selections that were first introduced in the 1976 edition of The Grist Mill have remained menu staples; customers can always order an exquisite cut of steak or select the freshest seafood, these items will always be available to new and returning clientele. Check out some original newspaper clippings and advertisements retracing the rich history of The Grist Mill Restaurant!