photograph by Carrie Marie Burr
The Hosley brothers return home to revamp a historic lodge
Growing up among the woods and waters of Long Lake, the Hosley brothers’ heads always swirled with notions of worldly adventures. With locally famous parents—Lorrie and John Hosley, owners of Hoss’s Country Corner—who were unafraid of a bit of rolled-sleeves derring-do, the boys were steeped in a kind of fearlessness. Now men who have indeed been around the world, Matt and Nate Hosley have decided to dial it down a notch, reconnect with their roots and return home to raise families, care for aging parents and pump new life into the century-old Long View Lodge just outside of Long Lake.
Along with their older brother, Trip, and a fourth partner, executive chef Ben Paula, who was Nate’s roommate in college, the Hosleys are coming off a 14-year run overseeing a mini–hospitality empire in San Francisco.
At the heart of their endeavors was Sauce, an 80-seat restaurant that served upscale comfort food and was consistently named one of the city’s best. Think macaroni and cheese studded with ham hock; tater tots where the taters are slow poached in vegetable broth and served with a sea-salt vinaigrette.
In addition to Sauce, the team ran Sleep Over Sauce in the space above their restaurant, and the nightclub Shine. Though the group has scaled back to focus on the Long View Lodge project, Trip and Chef Paula remain in San Francisco to run an offshoot of the original restaurant, Sauce: Belden.
But with modern technology, what’s 3,000 miles? Chef Paula video chats with the Long Lake staff regularly to answer questions and to ensure that his vision for the menu is being executed perfectly, from grilled apples to zucchini noodles.
Still, revamping the historic Long View is not without its challenges. Even small changes can trigger a push-back. When Matt rigged up a draft wine system, he said, “A lot of people here tend to say that, ‘Oh people don’t want that,’ but you know, we did the custom draft handle and within weeks you have guys coming in who are loggers and you look over and they’re drinking a nice glass of pinot noir rather than a bottle of Labatt.”
Staffing can also be an issue. With many Paul Smith’s College hospitality students electing to work in Lake Placid, finding experienced help can be difficult. But with their San Francisco connections and Long Lake roots, the Hosleys have assembled an exceptional crew. When I dined there on a winter night with an 18-month-old, our waiter explained the intricacies of smoked duck carpaccio, Napa Valley chardonnay and a kid’s portion of buttered macaroni with an easy professionalism.
The other challenge common to all Adirondack small-business owners is learning a multitude of things outside of their areas of expertise. The day before I met Matt and Nate, they’d spent their morning under the deck fixing a frozen pipe. While chatting with them over coffee, Matt disappeared to talk with someone about a recirculating pump for the heating system. Showing me their new kitchen, Matt motioned to a dishwasher and said, “In the next two years I’ll probably be an expert at this.”
“We work on our business,” Nate added. “We’re not outside owners. I don’t come in and yell at everybody and walk out the door. We’re always working on something.”
This work ethic can be traced to their childhood. Trip, Matt, Nate and their older sister, Julia, who now runs the family business, practically grew up in their parents’ general store, a Long Lake landmark. Hoss’s has been in business for more than 40 years, hawking everything from rock candy to balsam pillows.
“They used to joke that they’d duct tape milk crates together just so I could see over the counter to work,” Matt said.
The birch-bedecked behemoth at the crossroads of Routes 30 and 28N not only introduced the boys to running a small business, but also how to nurture the can-do, DIY attitude they have today.
“For all the projects we’ve done— multiple restaurants, nightclubs, hotels —everyone would always say, ‘Aren’t you nervous?’ and never once have I been nervous about it,” Nate said. “I’m not saying we won’t fall on our face, but you gotta take the leap. And I think that was Dad and Mom being like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’”
If any one piece of decor in the lodge’s large, warm dining room can stand as a symbol for the Hosleys’ vision for the Long View Lodge, it might be the framed bit of birch bark hanging above the fireplace. Rough as elephant skin and unadorned by noodly twig work, the bark is just bark, but recontextualized in a sleek frame. It’s this kind of minimalist rusticity with a modern touch that is the place’s stylistic calling card.
Throughout the building, updates have been made. Private bathrooms have replaced shared facilities. Modern bedding has replaced the old; the beds themselves are classic pieces of Adirondack rustic furniture. And mounted on the walls of each bedroom are flat- screen TVs. There are 16 rooms in the hotel proper and two more studio-sized cabins near the water. Unseen but coursing through the grounds is high-speed Wi-Fi. You can have the best of both worlds, the Hosleys seem to be saying: stream Netflix on the beach while dipping your toes in the lake. “The key with this place,” Matt said, “is trying to make it a little more modern without ruining its charm.”
The Long View Lodge is still a work in progress, but things are coming together quickly. And if they weren’t busy enough, the brothers have transformed an ice-cream stand across from the family general store. Rebranded as The Park, it now boasts Shake Shack–esque burgers, frozen custard and espresso.
Before Long Lake knows it, it won’t be just the Hosley boys who are back in town, but scads of tourists drawn to the brothers’ modern charm.
Find the Long View Lodge (518-624-2862, www.thelongviewlodge.com) at 681 Deerland Road.