By Janine Graffeo
If Pegasus could speak, he would say that like himself, The White Horse, A Country Pub & Restaurant, is a rare and precious find-located on Route 202, Marbledale, CT in the Township of Washington, and formerly known as The Marbledale Pub. Owner John Harris, has tastefully displayed his British roots throughout the two dining areas, stocking them with antiques, artifacts and local art, with one side of the restaurant having more of a "feminine feel and the other a masculine." The pub's official birthday took place on June 25th.
Once a damsel in distress and now after approximately 6 months of hard work, the restaurant has been totally rebuilt from the ground up and includes an entirely new high-tech kitchen. The hardwood floors are sprinkled with solid Oak tavern tables, with one in particular revealing intricately carved details-an Elizabethan table from the year 1580 with its former residence being a castle in london. And behind the breathtaking Mahogany bar, rests an Indian Scout motorcycle from 1920. The welcoming deck and patio complete the "great American pub with English influence" theme. In fact, it's quite possible that you will immediately find yourself taking more than one cleansing breath as you look outside to view the water flowing down the river while you eat, drink and make merry.
Harris has established himself as a builder/developer and restaurateur, both nationally and internationally. He was pleased to elaborate on the magical transformation that has taken place. He stated that he and his crew have done a ton of revamping on this building, as he pointed to staggeringly beautiful pieces of woodwork caressed with copper detailing, like the Mahogany railing for the outside patio-most of this material being barn wood. Continuing to point at various treasures, Harris, not overlooking one detail, even noted the old Edison light bulbs for the light fixtures. (One would surmise however, that his side of the wall-The Second Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth I, engraved in 1586.) In which only orle in a handful exist and scholarship rights had to be granted to the British Museum. It is no wonder then why this artifact is equipped with alarm and encased in bulletproof glass.
The restaurant, which was declining at the speed of light, needed rescuing. Harris would drive by the place, which is not very far from his home by lake Waramaug, thinking about what he could do to save this structure. He envisioned his now completed pub to be a "village gathering place," where one could experience pub fare married to reasonable pricing. Diners can feast on starters like, Clams Casino (littleneck clams baked with smoked bacon, shallots, red pepper, white wine and topped with garlic herb butter) $7.00; or for lunch one can feast on a Cab Burger (a signature mix combined with a cabernet, shallot reduction and grilled, served with tomato, baby spinach and rosemary butler on a toasted brioche) $12.00. Traditional pub dishes have also been kicked up a notch. For dinner, try their Steakhouse Shepherds Pie (savory ground sirloin, carrots, peas, onions, seasonings and rich gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and individually baked) $14.75. Another option would be the Superior Fish and Chips (fresh cod in a light golden fried batter with British chips-malt vinegar, tartar sauce and ketchup) $14.00. But no meal is complete without dessert. So try their White Horse Tipsy Cake (a real English trifle with rum-soaked brioche, fresh fruit, cream and sugar) $6.00. They also offer soups, salads and your hearts desire of wines and draught beers. All dishes are prepared by his French chef, who, according to Harris, has been cooking for 14 years and was influenced and trained by his father.
So between the tranquil views of the river, the wide offerings of food, drink and eye-catching historical pieces so eloquently displayed throughout the place-this horse tale will most likely become a legend in the making.
As for its future...Harris plans on bringing in some live music eventually and seems excited to see what lies ahead.
The White Horse Country Pub is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bar until close. For reservations call: (860) 868-1496 or visit their Web site at www.whitehorsecountrypub.com for a listing of the menu choices.