DUXBURY – The Winsor House Inn in Duxbury is about as American as it gets, serving up juicy burgers, loaded lobster rolls and crispy fried chicken. While they may serve a lot of sandwiches and fries, this restaurant isn’t your classic burger hop; it’s actually a classic colonial house.
Built in 1803, the Winsor House was a beloved family home located on Duxbury’s main drag. That is, until 1933 when it was converted into a restaurant and quickly became a local staple. The House’s newest owners, though, have proven this 200-year-old dog has plenty of new tricks.
“We want the environment to be welcoming. We want the service to be good. We want the food to be excellent. We want the entire feeling to be memorable,” said owner Holly Stafford Weilbrenner.
Luckily for owner Holly, the decor is pretty hard to forget – from the English pub with wood paneled walls to the Carriage House featuring big, bright windows overlooking the patio. There’s plenty of historic charm at Winsor House, but the vibe is far from stuffy.
“This is a place that people drop into who’ve decided to go to dinner at 10 minutes of 6, and at 6 o’clock, they’re in our parking lot,” she said.
Whether you’re here for a family dinner or a first date, you can trust the food is as fresh as it gets. In fact, most of the vegetables only travel a matter of a few feet, straight from the garden to the kitchen.
“When you taste the difference between something that’s come from the backyard just a few steps from the kitchen door and it’s on your plate an hour or two later, it is really a culinary delight,” Holly stated.
Though the vegetables may come from humble beginnings, Executive Chef Franco Carubia certainly knows how to elevate them. Case in point? The buratta and fresh heirloom tomatoes drizzled with housemade vinaigrette.
“I think about it all day long when I’m not here and anticipate it every day that I’m coming in for dinner,” Holly said of the dish.
Even a simple clam chowder gets the star treatment. Many chefs would be fine serving you a cup straight from the simmering pot, but not Chef Franco. He prepares each serving individually.
“If it doesn’t taste very good for us, it’s not going to taste very good for the guest. So then we can’t serve it,” he said, tasting his creation.
If that isn’t impressive enough, Chef tops his chowder with oyster crackers that are made in house.
“They’re made of puff pastry. This soaks up the chowder really nice, and it just gives it a really nice touch,” he explained.
With so much care put into every dish, it may be hard to choose. Luckily, bar manager RJ Kirby has a fool-proof method for his guests.
“If you don’t know what to do, close your eyes, pick something on the menu, and you’ll love it,” he suggested.
If you’re eating in the pub, you may be looking for more casual fare, like crunchy fried chicken served with baked beans and pickled watermelon; sweet chili wings sprinkled with sliced scallions; or a burger topped with bacon and Vermont cheddar and served sliced, so you can be sure it’s cooked exactly as ordered.
“Delicious burger, flaky brioche bun; he cuts it down the middle so you can see the temp, and pure, quality meat,” described RJ.
If you’re in the dining room, you may want to order something like the grilled, dry-aged sirloin served with garden grown tomatoes and sliced avocado; or a bowl of Bolognese so good, Chef Franco even put his name on it.
“Putting your name on a dish obviously has to live up to expectations because people can certainly come find you if it’s not good. It’s a unique blend of all organic veal, pork and chicken. It’s full of flavor. It has that rustic feel to it.”
The menu also offers plenty of seafood dishes, everything from parmesan crusted haddock served over carrot puree, to lobster rolls bursting from the bun. There’s even a lobster flatbread pizza made with a lobster cognac sauce, parmesan cheese and scallions.
Being in Duxbury, the star of all seafood here is the Island Creek Oysters, harvested just a mile down the road. On Wednesday nights, they serve the fresh-shucked beauties for a dollar a piece.
“We had one fellow call. He said, ‘I’m coming in for oyster night.” And he said, “I’d like 100 of them. I’ll be there in 45 minutes. Have them all ready for me.’ And then he came and down they went,” recalled Holly.
Whether you’re eating a hundred oysters or a single hamburger, the staff here shares the same goal when it comes to your experience.
“Any guests that comes through the door here, I’d love to leave here feeling full, happy and wanting to come back for more,” Chef said.
You can find Winsor House at 390 Washington Street in Duxbury, and online at winsorhouseinn.com.
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