Publick House Sturbridge Restaurant ReviewI love history, genealogy and historic restaurants, so I really love the idea of the Publick House in Sturbridge. The inn has been around since 1771, so you can imagine that John Adams and Ben Franklin might have stopped by here as they came and went during that era. You think about all the cool things that must have happened in these rooms throughout the ages.
There are two main dining rooms here. I've eaten in both many times. The upper dining room is more of an open, family affair. There are long, solid wood tables, and a nice fireplace. The downstairs one is Ebeneezer's Tavern which I've reviewed separately.
The main dining room is a long, big room, with wood floors, windows down along the long walls, and large wood tables. The end result of all this wood is that it is LOUD. You can hear very clearly every conversation going on at every table around you. You can barely hear the conversation of the person at your own table. Still, we eat here fairly frequently when we are having a 'family dinner' that involves more than 1 or 2 people. If we have a smaller group, we go down to Ebeneezer's where it is much quieter.
I want to add a note here. One time we went in and it was SUPER loud. So we told them we'd check downstairs to see if it was more quiet, since we were having an "important" dinner with a family member we hadn't seen in a long time. We didn't tell them the family part, just that it was rather loud. One of the other staff members made a snide comment about our desire for quiet! I found that to be completely unprofessional.
The service is prompt and friendly. The waitresses really do their best to have you feel relaxed and comfortable. The food is all comfort food. One of our favorites is the full Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and more. In fact my dad has to convince himself to try something different, instead of getting this all the time.
The wines are pretty overpriced, but if you look at the price tag on these comfort food meals, you'd probably consider them very overpriced as well. Mashed potatoes really don't cost that much. You're paying the Sturbridge Premium - the cost of maintaining this ancient building in a working fashion. They do a ton of weddings here, so they don't really need to worry about people complaining about the prices. People will pay top dollar to be in this building.
The salads are always OK but not very extravagant. The main dishes are good quality - although I love asparagus and am generally disappointed by how large and stalky they are here. Still, I keep ordering them, in the hope that someday I'll get tasty ones. I've tried many dishes here, and in general they are quite good, if a bit on the bland side. Their desserts are always good, but again they tend towards the simple flavors - indian pudding, creme brulee, etc.
Looking around, most of their audience is of the mature style, so this is probably exactly what people are seeking :)
In general the service was great! The staff really did want to help us out. But the prices were just incredibly high. This is of course a Tourist Trap, located primely in Sturbridge. They were serving local, traditional foods and wanted items that would appeal to just about everyone who walked in from all around the world. I don't mind that at all, and those breads were great! But with the wine list prices being so high, you'd think we could get a wine of decent quality. I'd have happily paid more for a good bottle! I didn't even have that choice. We did in general enjoy our meals, and for example the asparagus was fresh and tasty. So I'm torn on this one. I've obviously eaten here several times so I like the ambiance, and I like the traditional foods. I like the freshness of the ingredients. I just wish the prices were not on the gouging level - and that especially the wine list was more complete and had less astronomical prices.
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