Kingsley Tavern carries on Gowan tradition
A pigtailed Anna Gowan whisks a pan of white sauce in a 1980s black and white photograph hanging on the wall in Kingsley Tavern.
This childhood photo of the tavern's owner is typical of the charm of the upscale Kent village center sports bar.
"I didn't want to go too much with the sports bar look," said Gowan, who has filled the tavern at 14 North Main St. with modern artwork from the collection of her mother, George-Ann.
The brushed stainless steel bar was designed by South Kent metalsmith Peter Kiriles, as was the layout and center divider with its glass-boxed partitions and Circle K on wood.
The Circle K had graced center court of Kent School's gymnasium.
"The school gave my mother the Circle K when the gym was remodeled," Gowan said. "It was sitting in our garage. This was a perfect use."
Gowan, who prefers the "Zen atmosphere" of cooking in her kitchen at home, leaves meal preparation at Kingsley Tavern to chef Charles Dietrich.
"Charles and I both love Asian cuisine. We've collaborated on the menu," Gowan said. "But along with dishes like the stuffed mushroom inari pockets, we've kept meat loaf and mac and cheese. We don't want to exclude anyone's taste."
Friday, Saturday and Sunday brunch offerings include huevos rancheros for $14 and baked stuffed French toast for $13. Order a pear ginger fizz -- prosecco, Domaine de Canton and pear juice -- for $9.
Offerings Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to closing range from Reuben on marble rye for $12 to maple-brined pork chop for $28.
Draft beer choices are rotated, wines are restaurant exclusive labels, and top-of-the line liquors stock the bar.
Gowan's fellow Kent School Class of 1995 graduate, Mimi Buttenheim, provides unique cocktail recipes that mark the tavern's offerings.
"We're cooking to season," Gowan said. "Our ground beef, pork and eggs are from Tom Trulove's farm in Morris. I'm looking forward to getting fresh vegetables from local farmers as the season warms."
For Margaret Theobald, who has a home in Kent, stopping in when she's in town is a must.
"Whether by myself or with a large group, I'm always comfortable. I love the whole friendly, cozy atmosphere," Theobald said.
"And I'm a real foodie. Name a five-star restaurant and I've been there," Theobald said. "Anna had a great vision for the restaurant and she's achieved it."
"I have friends from New Canaan, Easton, Westport meet me there -- very discriminating diners -- and I never have to be nervous with the choice," she said.
Gowan has brought years of restaurant experience to Kingsley Tavern, which she opened in late February.
She previously managed the Blue Heaven in Key West, Fla., and worked in restaurants in Portland, Me., and Martha's Vineyard.
Kingsley Tavern, 14 N. Main St. in Kent, is open Tuesdays through Sundays for dinner and Fridays through Sundays for brunch.
Call 860-592-0261 for more information.
For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.
Photography by Norm Cummings