CONNECTICUT HAMLET HUB
Restaurant caters to Bond, the Stones and regular, old locals in little-known Marbledale
When John and Lisa Harris first dreamt about opening a restaurant, the couple from London, knew exactly what they wanted a local's tavern filled with good cheer, excellent food and good service. He - a former international hotel marketing exec and she - a successful movie producer. Six years later, their eye for beauty, whether the landscaped patios, the British antique collection or creative arrangements of food, assures visitors a magical experience.
Prior to opening, choosing a name was given careful thought. The White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant was decided on for its special meaning in the midst of uncertain economic times. John and Lisa were now more focused on helping people feel uplifted.
"We chose the motif of the elegant, white horse because it is a mythical symbol of hope in England," said John. It sits overlooking a hillside on an original painting which hangs over the stone fireplace.
Branding the stoic white horse emblem came next, with silhouettes of the horse found everywhere; on wine and beer glasses, paper napkin rings, to-go bags and clothing merchandise. Now people travel from afar to visit The White Horse, located on a stretch of road, in the rolling hills between New Milford and Washington.
Add to the mix, a studio quality sound system, with hand selected favorites from John Lennon to Neil Diamond. Not only is a framed signed guitar from the Rolling Stones featured on a wall in the dining room, they actually know Mick and Keith from their London days, and at one point were renting a home from them in Bermuda.
The framed copy of Sean Connery as James Bond with a quote from him in 2010 reads "The White Horse is the best pub in America." Signed by Sir Connery himself, he often dines there when visiting his children who attend private schools nearby.
Weekends and special holidays may find people having to wait as much as two hours without reservations, but don't seem to mind. A new "pub garden" was added this summer to the already multi-leveled decks which sit on the babbling river and waterfall. Here, people can smoke, drink, converse or simply taken in the landscape.
Motorcyclists to sophisticated city-folk equally appreciate the collection of artifacts. A bright red 1920 Indian Scout motorbike flanks the front bar. A 16th century tavern table with thick, rounded, carved legs contains a secret drawer where children have left sweet notes on bits of paper and doilies.
Pastry cut-outs of The White Horse sit atop the chicken, meat or lobster pot pies while a stencil image will appear in the sauce of a desert plate. They grow their own organic produce at a local farm and offer favorite menu items with a twist, i.e. the Rum and Coke Baby Back Ribs or the Gathering of Drunken Shrimp.
Mother's Day this year will feature 18 entrees with one being "Golden Sea Scallops with Lobster Risotto together with a Lobster Tail covered in Sherry Sauce. The martini menu offers choices of the Ginger Horse, Black Horse, Red Horse, Pink Horse. you get the idea.
The White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. year-round. The address for GPS is 258 New Milford Turnpike, New Preston or physically Rte. 202 in Marbledale. For reservations call: (860) 868-1496, but not-to-worry. There's plenty of seating in the lively bar area, for a spur of the moment meal you won't soon forget.