The Historic Stone House Restaurant & Inn, located along Route 40 in Farmington, is a mountaintop favorite.
When Executive Chef and Operating Manager Jeremy Critchfield took over the historic restaurant 2 ½ years ago, he changed the entire menu to better reflect the area.
“We breathed new light into some dishes to better represent the Stone House,” Critchfield said.
To best represent the mountainous area, Critchfield added dishes of wild game including venison, quail and bore. He also has been known to smoke whole lambs and chickens and he loves featuring fresh fish from the Atlantic such as tuna, black bass and even whole sword fish.
“I do a lot of fun stuff that other restaurants either don’t do or can’t do,” he said.
What started in the summer of 2012 as a lunch-time hobby now draws in folks from as far east as Maryland, as far south as West Virginia and as far north as Pittsburgh.
Critchfield’s famous Lang Smoker, located in the parking area, uses an offset firebox with reverse flow heat and smoke. Combined with Critchfield's signature brines, rubs and techniques, customers are treated to some delicious smoked hot sausage, chicken, beef brisket, baby-back ribs and the number one best seller - pulled pork.
The “Smoke House” is open from 11 a.m. till the goods sell-out Tuesday through Sunday.
Back inside the Stone House, Critchfield suggested that diners begin their meals with the number one selling appetizer, the blackened shrimp. This dish features a ½ pound of white shrimp tossed in a special recipe with remoulade sauce.
“There’s 20 stools at the bar, and it’s nothing to see 15 plates of shrimp at once,” Critchfield said.
Some of the most popular main entrees include the twice-cooked pot roast, mountain meatloaf and sweet potato crab cakes.
The pot roast is first smoked outside for five hours before it is brought into the kitchen to be braised in red wine and beer for an additional three hours. The tender dish is served with buttermilk mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.
The mountain meatloaf is the chef’s family recipe, and features a rich tomato gravy, garlicky green beans, crispy fried onions and buttermilk mashed potatoes.
The sweet potato crab cakes are one of Critchfield's signature recipes where the deep south meets the Eastern Shore. Two jumbo crab cakes made of finely chopped sweet potatoes are served with vinegar slaw and bourbon butter sauce.
And every Stone House meal is not complete until the famous bread pudding dessert, topped off with a vanilla bourbon sauce and vanilla ice cream, is served.
Critchfield also keeps a full bar, complete with 24 taps, 21 of which are dedicated to American craft.
The bar features Tap-Tour Tuesday where customers can try four different 5 ounce pours for $7. Customers can also use ½ gallon jugs called growlers to fill up with their favorite beer to take home.
On the last Friday of the month, Critchfield also offers a “beer dinner,” which features a different brewery each time. Critchfield calls up the brewery, discusses five beers to feature, and then he prepares meals to pair with each beer based on taste. The next beer dinner is today, and features Dog Fish Head from Delaware.
Other events include bike night, which is hosted each Thursday from May through October. Critchfield invites a live band and sells food from the smoker. On friday nights, year-round, Critchfield invites guest bartenders for charity. The event donates funds from tips and silent auctions to the American Heart Association, scholarships or families in need. And lastly, on Saturdays in January through March, the Inn is the home of Stone House Idol, a karaoke competition. Critchfield said the last winner won a cruise to Hawaii.
Crithfield also offers catering services to doctor’s offices, gas well sites, off-site weddings and other businesses and events.
“We have quickly become one of the biggest caterers in the area,” he said.
The Inn also features a 180-seat ballroom, ideal for weddings, showers, anniversaries and other events. There are also 13 remodeled overnight rooms, complete with a flat screen TV and new bedding. The newest addition is called the Stewart Suit and features two bedrooms.
Looking ahead to the future, Critchfield said he plans to add a rental house off of the parking lot and open an outdoor bar and music area for the weekends. He also hopes to open markets in the Morgantown and Deep Creek areas.
“We’re going to continue what we’re doing,” Critchfield said. “It’s been nothing short of amazing so far. We’ve made a ton of friends and gained a lot of popularity for a little spot on 40.”
The Stonehouse Inn is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday and Sunday and from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Stonehouse Inn is located at 3023 National Pike in Farmington, and can be reached by calling (724) 329-8876. More information can be found at www.stonehouseinn.com.