Eating at an historic tavern close to home is the next best thing to visiting a destination like Colonial Williamsburg. Earlier this year on the way back from our stay at the Omni Bedford Springs, we stopped and had lunch at the Jean Bonnet Tavern, an establishment that has been operating since the 18th century. Although I knew I could most likely find a chain restaurant around Kentuck Knob to eat at, I was looking for something a bit more special and unique and thankfully I came across the Stonehouse Inn. According to its website, the tavern “opened in 1822 to wagoners and travelers seeking renewed health in the waters of nearby Fayette Springs. Kentuck Knob and the restaurant are both located in the Laurel Highlands of Fayette County. Formerly known as the Fayette Springs Hotel, the Stonhouse Inn offers a variety of dining options (two main dining rooms, a tavern), and accommodations. There are six Victorian style bed and breakfast rooms, as well as six rooms in the new Zeigler wing which offer more “modern style” lodgings.
The restaurant is open all day with dinner starting at 4 PM, which worked out perfect for us since we came right to the restaurant after our tour at Kentuck Knob. The menu is quite extensive, offering everything from hot and cold sandwiches and various pastas to more substantial meant, chicken, and fish entrees (all entrees come with a choice of soup or salad). It does offer the Chalk Hill Challege, which for $32.95 consists of two pounds of crab clusters, two dozen jumbo wings, and one pound of hand-cut fries in garlic butter and Old Bay. If a person successfully finishes this by himself, he gets a free t-shirt and his photo on the restaurant’s hall of fame. While we were eating there we didn’t see anyone doing the challenge, which I’m sure would have been neat to watch. It seems like something that the Travel Channel’s Adam Richman of Man Versus Food would have participated in.
To start we ordered house made potato chips which came with ranch sauce for dipping. Although we opted for plan chips per our waitress’s’ recommendation, there’s also the option of barbecue and salt and vinegar. The chips had literally just been made, as they were still piping hot after being brought out. Although I’ve had home made potato chips before, I’ve never found them to be too spectacular but the ones at the Stonehouse Inn were above par, truly delicious. The ranch sauce offered a nice pairing even though I’m normally not a fan of its taste.
D ordered the house salad while I chose the French onion soup (the other soup of the day was corn chowder). The French onion soup was extremely tasty and had more of a kick to it compared to some versions I’ve had of it before.
For my entree I ordered a plate of the rigatoni pasta topped with marinara sauce (some of the pasta dishes on the menu allow you to choose your sauce). For a dollar extra I added a meatball, which I felt was definitely worth it. The sauce was average tasting but the meal itself was a generous size portion and I had more than enough to take home for an additional meal.
D’s entree was the chicken and dumplings. He was hoping for fried chicken, which would have seemed somewhat logical from a foodie perspective seeing as how close we were to the West Virginia border, but the chicken and dumplings seemed the most southern dish on the menu. Although it looked entirely too rich for my digestive system, D enjoyed it immensely. I also saw reviews of the restaurant which said the chicken and dumplings were the best people had ever had.
Due to our overeating starting with the bread, our soup/salad, the chips and our entrees, we were much too stuffed to even contemplate getting dessert. This was a shame, since early on in our meal, a dessert tray was brought around to another table and the selections looked incredible. But the Stonehouse Inn is extremely near to the historic Laurel Caverns (in the 19th century, people boarded wagons at the Stonehouse Inn which would then transport them to the caverns) and also the Christian K. Winery, two attractions I would like to check out so hopefully we’ll be back to dine again very soon.