Maine native, Rene Smiley has deep roots firmly planted in the town of Winslow. As the granddaughter of a dairy farmer and entrepreneur (Smiley’s Milk and Ice Cream), she grew up around restaurants and the service industry. Before serving and managing at several busy establishments in the Portland area, she was slinging ice cream cones at the shop and bussing tables in her aunt’s restaurant beginning at the age of 14.
Summers during college were spent working for her uncle at The Dunes Club in Narragansett, RI, a member exclusive beach club that focused on the classic French style of fine dining service. Working as a dining room captain, she managed teams of servers while providing guests with the best possible dining experience. It was there where she mastered the art of guest services and continued to learn about other aspects of the industry. Food and beverage knowledge soon became a passion of Rene’s, leaving her hungry and thirsty for more… literally! She stayed on that path well after earning a degree from the University of Southern Maine working at place such as: the iconic beer bar and restaurant Great Lost Bear, helping to open the hugely successful The Foreside Tavern, and another southern Maine institution, Ricetta’s Brickoven Pizza. After relocating back to central Maine with her husband and infant son, that path led her to The Village Inn in 2010.
At home, she has a huge garden that keeps her busy during the summer months. If you don’t find her at the Village Inn she is probably racing around with her now super-speedy six year old, spending time with family, whipping up something delicious to eat or canning vegetables… probably all at the same time!