Any given Monday

18 Nov 2019 | 01:39

“We stop working around 10 at night by the time everything is wrapped up and we’re walking out of the door, it could be close to 11," said Michael DiMartino. "That’s the nature of the business."

Late nights, early mornings and great food are the cornerstones around which Michael and Rachel DiMartino have built their married life. After meeting at the Culinary Institute of America, the pair tied the knot shortly after graduation and put their roots down in Warwick, NY, where they decided to take over the historic Landmark Inn, a 250-year-old homestead turned restaurant — while raising four kids. Twenty-six years later, the Landmark Inn is a local, well, landmark, almost a portal to another time: an intimate country inn serving scratch-made food sourced from area farmers right there on busy Route 94.

While they both put time and love into the restaurant, Rachel also pursues a career as a paraeducator, so their days off don’t often overlap. But occasionally on a Monday the stars align. That day is a holy day.

ALARM CLOCKS OFF

Michael DiMartino: It varies, but we usually wake up around 8:30 or 9 on a day off. That is definitely sleeping in for us, especially for her.

Rachel DiMartino: I’m usually up at 6.

BIG, BIG BREAKFAST

MD: Rachel does almost all of the cooking at home. So on a Monday, if we’re off together, she’ll make us a really nice breakfast.

RD: I call it a big breakfast. Fresh fruit, eggs, some type of baked good, some type of meat.

MD: It’s a really great breakfast.

DAY TRIP

RD: If the Monday lands on a school holiday, two of our kids work in the school system so we try to incorporate something with everyone, as many as can come!

MD: It’s not often that it lines up, but we’ll do something with everyone whenever we can.

RD: We got really into Eataly. So we will go [to the city], have lunch, buy stuff [at the market], and then come home and have a big family dinner.

EATING IN

MD: We usually stay in for dinner. On occasion we’ll go out but most of the time we’ll stay in. It’s rare that I cook dinner; Rachel almost always cooks.

RD: I think growing up, the kids knew it was sacred to be home for dinner on Monday night. We only go out on our Monday nights on special occasions or if we’re invited. If someone wants to invite us to dinner, we’re going! We love to support other restaurants too.

MD: It’s important to us to support the people who support us, where we can, when we can. Without their support, we wouldn’t be in business, so it cuts both ways.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHIT-CHAT

RD: After dinner, we just sit around and chit-chat. Our kids are adults now so it’s fun to catch up on what they’re doing and stuff like that. When they were younger sometimes we had to run them places, but now we can chit-chat.

MD: Even though we work together in the restaurant in the evenings, it’s not the same. It’s not like we’re hanging out and talking to each other; we’re doing things. So if I spend a total of 45 minutes with Rachel [on a workday], that’s a lot — you know, outside of work. And sometimes at the end of the night, we sit down, and relax, and talk. It’s really only on Mondays that we get caught up.

HIS + HERS HOBBIES

MD: I do woodworking, not as much as I’d like, but I do love to do woodworking and furniture making.

RD: I love to do cross-stitching and baking. I also do a lot of walking. Because we live in Warwick Village, I don’t need to drive to trails; I just get to walk out of my front door.

MD: On rare occasions, I’ll go with her. But it’s hard to keep up with her.

RD: He’s the one that’s pit-stopping for ice cream.

MD: Well you gotta! If you’re going to go for a walk, you have to stop for ice cream.

FIXER-UPPERS

MD: We typically watch about a half hour to an hour of TV at the end of the day. We usually watch HGTV. That’s embarrassing, but we do.

RD: Or DIY Network, that’s another one.

MD: They’re entertaining, and you know what, it’s mindless, there’s no drama, and you don’t have to invest a lot of attention into it. Not the cooking network. I’m sure people are like, “He doesn’t watch the cooking network!?” But we live the cooking life, we need some time away from that.

LOVING (ALMOST) EVERY MINUTE

MD: I don’t think I would change anything. We like what we do, if we didn’t we would stop. There are days that are an effort but they are far and few between. The good days outweigh the bad ones.

RD: On top of that, we’ve met some amazing people. Now that we’ve been here 26 years, those people that came in in the beginning have become family, almost. They watched our kids grow, we watched their kids grow.

MD: It’s not just our livelihood, it’s our lifestyle. There are plenty of things that we could’ve done that would’ve made us a lot more money but this is a lifestyle, absolutely. You do this because you love what you do, and we do.

RD: I tell my kids, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you like what you do.