Name: Ashley Wood
Family info: Husband Mike, Four kids- Beckett (almost 8), Emmett (6), Quinn (4) & Ella May (2). Mike and I first moved to Rye in 2008 and instantly fell in love with this special community. I grew up just outside of Poughkeepsie and graduated from Marist College on the Hudson River where I majored in business and marketing.
Name and description of your Organization/Business: Milton Market “MKT” for short. We came up with the name after reaching out to the Rye Historical Society and learning that in iterations past the name “market” had been a theme and so “MKT” felt like a natural fit. The history of 544 Milton Road was very important to us. We are a small, cozy takeout driven breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot where you can grab food on the go or stay and meet a friend for a quick bite. Our chef Naldo is always creating and coming up with new menu items.
I have loved being involved in transforming the space into a light, bright, beachy place that I hope people will leave feeling happy and excited about their food. I’m learning how to run a social media account, and how to get back to my marketing roots.
Before working on this, what was your career?
I was a lawyer before having my kids and then transitioned to staying home with them, until now. I had worked in litigation and it was a real grind. This project has been a fun, unexpected outlet for me. I hadn’t necessarily planned on helping to run a business with four young kids, but it’s been really rewarding and I’m so glad we took it on.
How did you get involved with opening a restaurant? How did it all get started?
When we saw the 544 Milton building was for sale we knew we could bring it back to life. It was too special of a building and had too much history to pass on. I had an immediate vision for the interior space and for the type of food I wanted to offer. As a busy mom and pescetarian, I personally am always looking for something fast, delicious, and healthy. I also often eat something different from the rest of my family so the vegetarian options are really important to me. Maybe most importantly, I’m not the best weekly meal planner and sometimes I look around at 4:00 having no idea what I’m going to feed everyone. The option to be able to run around the corner, pop in and grab something to heat up for myself and the kids is huge.
My husband Mike had always talked about opening up a beachy takeout spot like this forever despite us both being attorneys and we happened to know just the right people in the restaurant industry to help us build this. From the start everything felt meant to be. Everything fell into place very naturally.
We were motivated by the friends and neighbors, like us, who all loved Cornerstone and were missing the vibe of having something like that right around the corner. We’re really excited to grow and hopefully become a Milton staple.
What did you have to do to start?
We had to design what we wanted the space to look like and then entrusted our phenomenal partner, Mogan Anthony to design a menu and our unreal chef Naldo Morales and his team to make it happen.
Can you share some details about the menu you've developed for your restaurant? Are there any signature dishes?
The turkey wrap has been a huge hit so far, as has the chicken salad! The lobster salad is probably my personal favorite. There is magic in this food. It’s just light, delicious, easy food. Our team is amazing!
What unique aspects or features does your restaurant bring to the community that sets it apart from other dining options?
I think we bring convenience, and a delicious food option to the Milton community. I also hope that people will stay for a cup of coffee at the counter or meet up with a friend for a quick lunch on our benches outside. I want it to be really community driven. We truly love our friends and neighbors and hope they love what we’re doing!
What have you learned in the process of working on this?
That we couldn’t do it without our amazing team of people with us and this amazing community of people giving us a chance. We had some big shoes to fill and I think we’ve found a way to provide that missing link while also differentiating ourselves and our food.
What do you love most about what you do?
Seeing all of our friends and neighbors coming in and enjoying it has sparked a ton of joy for us.
What is the biggest challenge you face and how do you deal?
Probably the biggest challenge so far is probably how every mom feels every day. Trying to balance it all isn’t easy. I don’t subscribe to the thought process that we should feel guilty about struggling to get it all done. I try to do my best everyday and some days you’ll feel like you’ve nailed it more than others, and that’s okay.
What is the thing that has surprised you?
How invigorated I feel by challenging myself in this way. I never would have thought I was going to open a restaurant…
What is your best tip for moms?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We’re all doing the best we can and your best is good enough!
Other fun details about you: favorite books, Netflix, fun facts, or other:
I love a quiet day at the beach with my kids. I can’t believe how lucky we are to live somewhere this beautiful with access to the water.
My favorite show is Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix- a food travel show. He sort of embodies how I think about food- not only should it taste good, but it should make you happy, connect you to people, and sometimes make you do a little dance when you get that really good delicious bite. My close friends know I’m incapable of watching anything too serious on TV. I keep it light!
I read to my kids at night and we love Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and there’s a quote I love and that I hope sticks with my kids their whole lives- “Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”
Also, one of the people I admire most is Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She talked often about how she and her husband leaned on one another in a sort of tag team approach to parenting, and life. I’m lucky to have someone similar to lean on when it all gets to be a lot.