By Jesse Wood
Aug. 7, 2013. A familiar trio has opened another establishment in Blowing Rock.
Last week, Cobb and Cindy Milner and chef-extraordinaire Michael Foreman, who are also behind Gideon Ridge Inn and Bistro Roca, opened the New Public House and Hotel on Sunset Drive in the former location of the historic Sunshine Inn and more-recent Crippen’s Country Inn.
Southern-inspired small plates and full meals meet at the heart of the modern-American food offering from the New Public House, which also has an impressive selection of local ales, fine wines and seasonal cocktails to compliment dishes that, for example, feature smoked tenderloin, summer-harvest succotash, Carolina coastal shrimp and roasted local greens. The restaurant also utilizes mason jars to serve food.
When asked to compare the New Public House restaurant to the Bistro Roca and Gideon Ridge Inn restaurants, Cobb Milner noted the Southern influence, but added that the food concepts and dining experience is “completely different.”
“It’s really designed to make your own meal experience here, sort of put your own different dishes together to make a full meal, and if you want to eat light, you can do that very easily,” Milner said.
The Milner’s purchased the Crippen’s Country Inn back in June and spent six to eight weeks renovating, updating and establishing a modern décor in the kitchen, bar and restaurant areas.
It features new paint, chairs, tables, plates, lighting, booths, wine racks and so forth. While Jimmy Crippen left an “incredible kitchen” and a “quite-a-nice” bar, Milner said they did away with the “country-type” atmosphere and added a few new pieces of equipment in the kitchen.
“It’s even better now,” Milner said.
While the restaurant has been up and running since July 30, rooms in the lodging portion of the New Public House and Hotel are still undergoing renovations and will feature a “much more modern look” than most other lodging establishments in the High Country. The new look includes slightly lighter woods and more use of iron and steel in the décor.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Milner said.
How is this new establishment different from the Gideon Ridge Inn? Well, Milner said that the target demographic is different. The Gideon Ridge started in the ‘80s as a country inn and featured a clientele from major metropolitan areas who were typically 40 years of age or older and wanted to a “getaway” in the mountains, whereas the New Public House and Hotel is targeting professionals, single or otherwise, in their mid-20’s to 40’s.
“Being an in town location and attached to a driving restaurant, it’s going to be a whole different feel as far as the stay is concerned,” Milner said.
The New Public House and Hotel received its name because Milner said Blowing Rock is at the headwaters of the New River and a because a public house confers a place for the public to eat and drink and have fun.
“But in the English tradition, many times a pub or public house over there has guest rooms available for staying in,” Milner said.
The New Public House restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 3 to 10 p.m. The New Public House and Hotel is located at 239 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock. For more information, call 828-295-3487 or click here.