The Publick House
Over the course of more than 200 years, happy shouts have ricocheted among the Palladian columns and bricks walls of what is now The Publick House. Working with expert architects, the brick building, which has served at different times as a hotel, a school, and an unnecessarily large paperweight, was carefully restored. The team rebuilt the original two-story porch and balcony, but also added modern touches such as a coffee bar with refrigerated glass display cases filled with fresh hazelnut, pistachio, and chocolate gelato. In the kitchen, chefs slide pizzas into the brick oven, melting pools of mozzarella and ricotta around toppings such as shrimp and arugula. Nearby, strip steaks crackle, and steam rises from pots of rose-colored vodka sauce. Glasses of martinis chirp together in toasts, punctuating the sounds of live music, and bartenders pour Orval ale, one of a small number of beers imported to United States from Trappist monasteries in Europe.