Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Twenty-five Years: The Kennedyville Inn

It was only after a few years of paying rent at the Ironstone that Kevin and I decided we wanted to be our own Landlords, and began to look for an appropriate space for our next restaurant. We looked all over Chestertown, including the spot that currently houses the Lauretum Inn, which was a wonderful building but was going for more money than we had in our budget. We drove down to Centreville and poked around there, but knew that was too far for us to commute on a daily basis.  Finally we settled on Kennedyville: town water and sewer, Village Zoning which could be commercial, and what a great commute!

In 1992 we purchased the old "Myers" place, once known as "The Showplace of Kennedyville".  When we bought it, the current owners were part-time residents, doing a bit of demolition/renovation.  During their tenure the pipes on the second floor burst and destroyed the downstairs kitchen, so when we came on the scene, not only was the house in a huge state of disrepair, it was also partially demolished, had no kitchen and was basically uninhabitable.  Perfect!
The KVI as it looked when we bought it in 1992.

The foyer: stairs would be removed later.
  The first thing we did was put on a new roof and remove the ailing porch. Then it sat there for a few years, with the neighbor's children (and I think the Dad as well) keeping the grass down...later we would hire three of these children to work at the Kennedyville Inn.  In 1994 we started with the process of complete renovation.
November 1992 - waiting for help.

Roy Mears, on his giant car/cell phone!
The toilet on the porch defined the building for many months.
Help came in the form of Roy Mears, contractor extraordinaire...he began the massive project in November 1994, after zoning changes, permits and all the other hoops had been jumped through.

The entire back was added on to contain the kitchen and bathrooms.

Kevin on "the line".
The walls for the addition go up.
Meanwhile, a new entryway would be built on this side, and a deck to replace the porch.
Ask Roy how he liked working with Grinnell in putting in this $10,000 sprinkler system.
Even Roy's wife Molly was marched into service!

Roy was building the banquettes...
...while our living room at home was the construction site for the cushions.
Voila!  Just need tables!

Meanwhile, in the do we put the dishwasher together anyway?

Kevin had rescued this fine stainless steel table.
It came with us to Brooks Tavern -
after we bought it back from Jason and Glen!

Landscaping outside in August of 1995.
 The bar is getting supplied, and the opening day
is getting closer and closer.

The bar with it's inlay of marble squares looks beautiful,
despite the height "issues" we would discover later...

 Marcy Ramsey's mural in the dining room
has found a new home in the Brooks Tavern.

The original fir flooring was re-used in the
restaurant's foyer, to great success.

 And finally, November 1995, Kevin gets to cook on his own line!

We had both the Ironstone and the Kennedyville Inn for 18 months.  The longest 18 months of my life.  Eventually we sold the Chestertown business and spent 9 years smoking ribs and serving dinner at our own Kennedyville Inn.  We were the landlords at last!  

Next up, some of the fine people (and dogs) who made the Kennedyville Inn great!

1 comment:

  1. What a great re-cap, Barbara. Thanx for sharing. While we knew SOMEthing was going on during the re-habbing, I don't think many of us knew HOW extensive it was. Wow. During that time, what we were most worried about was how many people would drive out to K'ville on a regular basis, once you were no longer around the corner downtown. That turned out to be a pretty dumb "worry,." for sure. When KI opened, I think I either came home early from D.C., or didn't leave C'town for my usual week in D.C. until you were open, so we could be there the first night you were open for regular diners...(seems to me you had a trial night or two of family/friends/Mears dinners before the formal opening.) I think Jason told us, when we came in that first time, that we were the first that night. Anyway, thanks for all the work, the worry, the planning, the amazing menus and all of the good stuff that has happened in all three venues because you guys care so much about making life good for a bunch of us oldies. It's been a great ride for all of us. C.G.