In 1818, stagecoaches began stopping for food and rest at Jacob Fox's inn, an establishment that would welcome guests for nearly two centuries. After a closure in 2004, the Fox Stand Inn will soon begin serving hungry travelers (and locals) again as the Fox Stand Tavern & Catering. Last week, after six years of painstaking repairs, the 196-year-old building in North Royalton passed health and fire code inspections.
This month, guests will be invited in to enjoy the cuisine of Jed Cohan, chef-owner of Delicata Catering. Cohan already lives on the top floor of the inn building, which is owned by Massachusetts-based attorney Matt Matule.
Cohan moved to the Upper Valley four years ago, relocating Delicata to Wilder. He'd started the business in Burlington, where he had previously cooked at restaurants including A Single Pebble and Smokejacks. Now the seasoned cook says he's ready to focus on being a catering-business owner and restaurateur. Cohan is currently seeking a chef to help prepare his Mediterranean-inflected, New American cuisine.
Until that chef comes along, Cohan will run the old inn primarily as a catering venue, he says. Under the Fox Stand name, he'll cater off-site events throughout the summer, but will also host his share of private parties and supper-club-style dinners. "When it was a tavern, it was really popular in the area," Cohan says of the Fox Stand. "We want to get people in the community really excited to have it back. We want people to be in the building to see how much has been done to it."
The Fox Stand Tavern may not open in earnest until the end of Cohan's busy summer catering season. When the day arrives, updates on classic tavern fare will be part of the plan, but Cohan says he hopes his locavore menu will also include lighter options. "Often everything is so heavy on [a tavern] menu. We want things to be a little more creative," he explains.
Cohan will soon begin scheduling his supper-club dinners for April and beyond. Dishes such as Mediterranean-style Peking duck could very well warrant a stagecoach stop.