Although innkeeper/chef, Larry Boylan has been cooking and providing memorable dining experiences for the guests of the Inn at Sugar Hill for over 30 years, the beginnings of his culinary career were seen budding in the early spring of his life. “I was maybe 3 or 4 years old and I’ve been told that I would play for hours in my grandmother’s kitchen, where I would often climb into her oversized lower cabinet, playing with her pots and pans, until an adult would come find me”, begins Boylan. “I can still recall as a young boy, seeing my grandmother, along with my great grandmother, both wearing those 1950’s frilly-edged, oversized floral aprons, prepping food on the kitchen table and counter tops, then stirring those big pots on the stove, and the wonderful smells which were only outweighed by the laughter that would be mixed together then waffle out through the swinging wooden kitchen door filling the rest of the house with love.”, reminisces Boylan.
The seed of hospitality continued to grow as a young boy Larry could be found watching Julia Child’s, The French Chef on PBS, or trying his hand at his sisters Easy Bake oven, and even turning his parent’s home into a restaurant with printed menus, candlelit dining room table, and convincing his siblings to be servers and kitchen assistants, and of course he as the head chef, complete with a hand-made cardboard toque. At 14 years old, Larry began his official career in a real kitchen washing dishes on weekends at a large operation where his father was a line cook. “It was such a big place, but the family atmosphere was evident from day one, and I immediately felt part of something bigger than myself.”, adds Boylan. Over the next 10 years Boylan would work his way through many area restaurants, both in the kitchen and dining room, while earning a college degree in accounting. His family, who had known of his culinary journey, were not surprised when, at 24 years old, Boylan would open his first restaurant, naming it after his grandmother, Teresa Martin’s Cafe, located in Stone Harbor. It was at this seaside eatery he would meet the love of his life, Tina, and together they would set out to not only create a family consisting of two daughters, Margaret & Kelsey, but also create a small country inn and restaurant calling it The Inn at Sugar Hill. “The inn has been a ‘family affair’ since the beginning”, states Boylan. “Customers who have been staying at the Inn for years will still comment on the fact that our daughter Margaret, who just checked them into their room, was their ‘juice girl’ when she was a 3-year-old, taking their juice order at breakfast. Now 26 years later, it’s Margaret’s daughter, Avery, who is the new ‘juice girl’ at the Inn.”, laughs Boylan. Larry and Tina’s youngest daughter, Kelsey, who now teaches school in Arizona, still returns to the area in summer and can be found behind the bar bartending at the Inn’s Dockside Grill along the river’s edge. In an industry that rarely sees longevity past a few years, Boylan gives credit to God for the grace and love he and his family has experienced here at the Inn at Sugar Hill for these past three plus decades. “I’ve been in this business long enough now to come to the realization that it is not me that keeps this place going.”, reflects Boylan. That spirituality flows into Boylan’s cuisine offered at the Inn. “It’s with a grateful heart for all of God’s blessings that plan and create a fresh menu that has something for everyone.”, comments Boylan. “All food is meant to bring people together, but unfortunately, in our world, it is often used to separate, which is not the Divine Plan for humanity. I never want the Inn to be accused of that. My staff and I check our egos at the door and work to provide a quality, good tasting cuisine that all can enjoy, without pretention, so that they may come to experience the old-world hospitality of an authentic country inn”, concludes Boylan.