At Vienna Restaurant and Historic Inn's Austria-inspired getaway, chef and owner Jonathan Krach maintains a culinary dialogue with Europe more than 100 years after his grandfather passed through Ellis Island en route to the United States. The restaurant's plentiful dining rooms each have their own working fireplaces where visitors can cozy up and dig into plates of beef stroganoff and smoked pork shanks. In one of the dining areas, a portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph directs his gaze over white linen tablecloths, intricate light fixtures, and gold-colored walls, waiting patiently for the return of the Habsburg Empire or for someone to tickle his whiskers. Listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, Vienna Restaurant and Historic Inn boasts Italianate Revival architecture with 12-foot ceilings and a Mansard-style roof. Two-hundred-year-old copper beech trees ward off hot sunrays on the outdoor patio, and a dwarf japanese maple tree on the front porch hovers over shoulders to catch a glimpse of the day's paper. On cool nights, an outdoor patio fireplace warms guests. The hotel portion of the building comprises five two-room guest suites, each with unique decorations
Though he’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America whose resumé spans stints across the U.S., Brian Treitman has never lost his affinity for one food—roadside barbecue. At B.T.'s Smokehouse, Brian pays homage to multiple styles of Southern barbecue, starting with dry rubbing each cut of meat, from the pork shoulder and beef brisket to both types of ribs, in a blend of spices. He then places the slabs into a Southern Pride smoker, where the velvety plumes from local apple and hickory wood slowly cook the meat for up to 14 hours.
The cuts emerge with a crisp, blackened exterior surrounding a juicy, fall-apart-soft interior, and are plated with cornbread and sides such as collard greens and mac ’n’ cheese. Brian's approach has earned him a loyal following, a spot on Worcester'sBestChef.com's 2011 People's Choice Awards, and at least two awkwardly long hugs from diners.
Rovezzi's Ristorante chef Christopher Rovezzi, who earned the top chef spot at the 2012 Worcester’s Best Chef Competition, stuffs his own sausages, simmers a homemade blend of Bolognese sauce, and cuts fresh fettuccine noodles. Hand-breaded chicken stays warm underneath a layer of mozzarella and house-made marinara in the chicken parmesan, and Australian lamb shank slowly braises in Sauvignon Blanc.
Chef Rovezzi keeps the menu fresh with the regular addition of new dishes—a process that has helped the restaurant garner a number of accolades, including Diners’ Choice Winners for best service and best food from OpenTable.
The large wood columns sprouting from the weathered wooden bar evoke the belly of a ship—no doubt a hat-tip to the pub’s namesake, the highly decorated Navy Admiral TJ O’Brien. The menu lets seafood and steaks romp beneath cloaks of sauce, on steaming pastas, or between slices of bread. Draft pints fill with suds from local breweries including Opa Opa and Bentley, and wineglasses shiver to the pulse of live music on Friday and Saturday. On the wrap-around porch, patrons loosen belts while trying to glimpse the Quinebaug River Reservoir or spot a majestic submarine periscope grazing in its natural habitat.