A new restaurant is hoping to draw people to downtown Middletown with pub food, creative cocktails and live entertainment.
The menu at The Swire Inn at 64 S. Main St. features sandwiches, pot roast, Chicken & Waffles, Fish & Chips, Bourbon Salmon and Shepherd’s Pie.
Pub classic Bangers & Mash features sausages and mashed potatoes topped with an onion gravy and served with a side of sauerkraut.
“It’s not fine dining. It’s good value,” said owner John Langhorne.
Part of that value is tied into creativity, he said. Swire Inn’s culinary staff, including head chef Chad Schwab, with his 22 years of experience, whip up all sauces and gravies in house.
“They take a lot of pride in it,” Langhorne said. “They take a lot of pride in doing different deviled eggs each day, different flatbreads. People say ‘Oh, this is so great’ and then they bring it back.”
Langhorne said he encourages creativity for not only Swire Inn’s chefs, but also it bartenders.
That’s why in addition to an expansive selection of beers, the Swire Inn also offers a bevy of specialty cocktails, including a Snowflake Martini and a S’mores Martini.
“They’ll pop it on Facebook and it brings people in,” Langhorne said.
Katie Harris, the Swire Inn’s general manager, is a former executive chef and a food and beverage manager, also will serve as the restaurant’s event manager.
The building in which the Swire Inn is located was constructed in 1861. Langhorne renovated the restaurant’s formerly run-down interior, adding a brick and wood decor aimed at evoking a sense of cozy, comfortable warmth.
“I had a vision based on my travels of what a pub would look like … (and) I was able to recreate that,” he said.
Langhorne said he’s already working with an architecht to expand the restaurant’s kitchen. That, he said, will help it keep up with production demands, which are expected to increase further in the spring when the restaurant introduces its outdoor dining area.
Langhorne’s ties to the city include involvement on Middletown’s Planning Commission, Charter Review Committee and Middletown Airport Commission.
He said he and the Sorg Opera House, Rolling Mill Brewing Company and other nearby businesses are hoping to transform that corner of the neighborhood into “the theater district of Middletown.”
“The city’s done a great job with the entrepreneurs down on Central Aveue, they’ve done a great job (with) downtown Middletown,” Langhorne said. “If we get critical mass down there to create enough venues for restaurants and retail for people to come downtown, everybody’s going to benefit.”