Chef Kent Monkan was born and raised in Huntington Long Island. At a young age, he knew that food would always be a significant part of his life. Through his teenage years he often found himself in trouble for raiding his friends freezers to cook whole turkey wrapped in bacon or country ribs braised in beer and sauerkraut. It was at that time that he realized he wanted to make a career in the food industry.
After graduating The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 1996, he went to work at Mathew’s. A Mediterranean restaurant in Trump Plaza. Kent had then been contacted by Richard Gertz, then owner of Panama Hatties in Huntington. Panama Hatties then had grown from a local pub and burger joint into one of the top restaurants on Long Island. Kent spent nine years their from line cook to chef de cuisine and found himself producing some of the most innovative food around.
In 2005, Kent decided to do every chef’s dream - open a restaurant. It was in a spot made famous from Tom Schaudel, 107 Forest Avenue, Locust Valley. With not even nearly enough money or restaurant management experience, he thought, why not?
Kent opened the Locust Valley restaurant and called it “Heirloom” in March 2005. The restaurant received rave reviews right off the bat and the place was pumping. After receiving three stars from Newsday, it was a challenge to keep up with production with a very inexperienced kitchen staff. When house manager walked out on the busiest night, Kent realized restaurant nightmares.
Heirloom was a major player in the dining scene. The food was still receiving rave reviews and the service was finally on par with it. But just like many other small chef owned restaurants, it became a weekend destination.
In October 2006, Kent decided to put the restaurant up for sale. A buyer surfaced by December and the deal was done by May 2007.
Wanting to spend some quality time with his family, Kent took a job as a private chef in South Hampton for the summer. Come fall he accepted a job as executive chef at Nisen Sushi in Woodbury. By March 2008, Kent was getting restless with the Japanese fusion cuisine and really missed having his own restaurant. He left Nisen and once again worked the summer in South Hampton.
By mid-summer, Kent learned that Heirloom’s lease was going to be terminated due to financial difficulties and an unfortunate fire. Rather than lose a significant amount of money and realizing a potential opportunity, Kent stepped into an ugly legal battle to reclaim his restaurant.
From his previous experience and an economic down turn, Kent realized that an American Gastropub is the way to go. Give people great food, selections, drinks, and service in a casual atmosphere at a reasonable price. He thought that if this formula didn’t work, then he didn’t know what would.
From this . . . The Brass Rail was born.
The establishment was named after our wonderful antique bar.
The bar was made by two German Brothers in the late 1880's in The Bowery of New York City and was
installed in a restaurant called The Brass Rail on 7th Avenue.
During Prohibition, the bar was dismantled and after a few years it was reassembled in The Lighthouse
Tavern, in Elizabeth New Jersey.
In 1979 the bar was purchased from an antique dealer by Arthur Stein for his new bar and restaurant, "Marbles" at this location.
The bar was dismantled and placed on a 30ft truck
lined with mattresses to protect it on the journey and then painstakingly assembled piece by piece here in Locust Valley.
The original mirror covered in an array of WW2
posters did not survive the dismantling.