A devastating fire in 2015 ripped through the former Indian Rock Inn, a popular tavern with views of the Delaware River and Delaware Canal State Park.
The interior of the Upper Black Eddy inn was destroyed, but the circa 1812 structure was built to last. “We loved the building and wanted to breathe life into it,” said James Vipond, who with wife Tamara and partner Anthony Capone have completed a total renovation and created the restaurant and bar they call “The Narrows.”
The tavern’s new look is casually elegant with plenty of wood; that’s no surprise since James Vipond owned a woodworking business for 20 years.
Renovations took a full year, and the restaurant opened in April. Since then locals as well as tourists are finding it, and the menu crafted by chef Michael Keating.
The partners reached into the past for the inn’s name. Documents told them its original name was the Narrowsville Hotel, back when that part of Bucks County was known as Narrowsville.
The Viponds are experienced restaurateurs with other restaurants in New York City. After moving their family to Bucks County four years ago, they often drove past the Indian Rock Inn and loved the location. “It’s nearness to water attracted me,” said James Vipond.
The menu is designed to offer something for pretty much everyone. Keating is a culinary school graduate who crafted a main menu with upscale entrees of duck confit and sunchoke ravioli, coffee- and cocoa-crusted rib-eye, fennel-crusted tuna and pan-seared steelhead trout.
Starters include stone-ground grits, mussels, clams tagliatelle, a raw bar, salads and a daily soup.
For the casual diner there is a pub menu, which is served throughout the restaurant. It includes burgers, fried chicken, truffle macaroni and cheese and the meat-and-potatoes stout-braised short rib poutine. A Canadian dish, poutine is fries topped with melted cheese and gravy.
Vegetarians can opt for a falafel sandwich or a seasonal risotto – right now it is English pea. Keating makes his own bread, pasta, ice cream and desserts for the restaurant.
Pricing on the menu, with meals starting at $10, is designed so that customers can come often to The Narrows, Vipond said.
The restaurant is open, but the partners say The Narrows is still a work in progress. They plan to expand the outdoor dining, will add brunch on weekends and will eventually renovate four rooms upstairs to make it into an inn.
They have come to love the old hotel. “This space is personal to us now,” said Vipond.