A builder by trade, John Harris knew he'd found a diamond in the rough when he stopped at the Marbledale Pub last year for lunch with a business associate. A 10-year resident of nearby Lake Waramaug, Harris not only had lunch, he also had a look around the 35-year-old building that sits at the edge of the East Aspetuck River. There was no view of the river, however, from the pub. Harris went out back and saw the stream flowing past and had a vision of what could be. Back inside, he spoke with the cook about the business. Not long after Harris left, he got a call from the pub's owners asking if he'd be interested in buying it.
Harris talked it over with his wife, Lisa, and before long the couple were the new owners and were embarking on a six-month project that saw the pub stripped down to its skeleton and rebuilt as an English-style pub, the White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant. The layout of the restaurant is much the same as it was when it was the Marbledale Pub, with the dining room on the left and the pub on the right. But the big difference is that the river can now be seen from the dining room and pub and the outdoor deck Harris had built on the pub side. In the three and a half months it has been open, the White Horse has been a hit with locals and those passing through on Route 202. "The response has been overwhelming," Harris said, noting that the pub and dining room are filled most days for lunch and dinner.. "People love it, and that's so gratifying."