Inn offers 7-, 8-course meals
Preston business looks to become more than a place to eat
A failed dinner party can be thanked for the creation of the Cox-Roosevelt Inn at Stone Wall Farm.
“One night, I invited 16 friends for dinner. Fourteen of them ate before they came,” said Bill Bjorkman, the inn’s owner and chef.
As the host was more than a little angry, his friends sat him down in his living room to explain.
“They said, ‘Well ... you only serve hot dogs and hamburgers. You have ketchup and maybe mustard.’ I guess I was a bad cook.”
So Bjorkman set about changing that, with the help of a plethora of food magazines. He now serves seven- or eight-course dinners to those who visit the Preston County inn. And no more cookout food.
There is no set menu at the inn. Cost for a meal is $45 and each is made with an eye toward seasonal, local fare.
A spread that Bjorkman recently served included Mint Julep Soup, Sobol Squash Bisque, Roasted Salmon in Bourbon Sauce, Glazed Carrots, Capricola Carbonara, Snap Pea and Cabbage Slaw, and Pumpkin Tiramisu.
“They were so different,” said Delbert Royce, of the handful of meals he’s eaten at the inn. “What [Bjorkman] puts together, there are plates and dishes I would never, ever think about putting together. And they are really wonderful.”
Reservations are required. Those interested must call at least a few days in advance of a meal or stay. As it’s normally just Bjorkman preparing the food, parties should be no larger than 12.
“I had 21 one time, and that was really pushing it,” he said. “I only have two tables, so six is ideal, and 12 is ideal. Anything from two-12.”
The establishment has no liquor license, so guests are encouraged to bring their own libations.
Dinner isn’t Cox-Roosevelt’s only draw, though. Bjorkman bought the land six years ago, and after clearing the portion where he wanted to build, started construction.
“I fell in love with the place as soon as I saw it,” he said of the 160 acres off Dogtown Road on which the inn sits.
In addition to the pastoral views it offers, the Cox-Roosevelt is set up to provide casual comfort. A large leather sofa and loveseat flank the fireplace in the living room. And antiques — including furniture given by guests — fill the home.
“There’s a lot of odd pieces tucked around everywhere,” Royce said. “It’s very eclectic.”
Upstairs is dedicated to a spacious guest suite, which doesn’t see nearly as much business as the kitchen, dining room and outdoor seating downstairs.
“Mostly, people just come here to eat and drink,” Bjorkman said.
A guesthouse, just across from the pond beside the Cox-Roosevelt, is set to be finished by spring. A maze and a stone tower are also in the works. And guests are welcome to ride the horses that call Stone Wall Farm home; though Bjorkman said, as of yet, no one has saddled up.
Instead, a much smaller creature captures the hearts of many visitors.
“This dog received 12 Valentine’s Day cards this year,” Bjorkman said of his chihuahua mix, Jackie. “I got one.”
The pint-sized pup has also already received his first Christmas card. And one guest painted a portrait of him, which hangs in the dining room.
“He’s a delight,” Royce said. “He’s got a personality as big as the Cox-Roosevelt.”
Whether it’s the canine, the food or the ambiance, the inn isn’t hurting for business. Mostly through word-of-mouth, visitors have come from as far away as the Philippines and Italy. But most customers are based closer.
“I get more people from Clarksburg and Bridgeport than I do Morgantown, just a handful of locals,” said Bjorkman, a Preston County native. “Somehow, we’re booked all the time. We’re booked now through Jan. 17.”
In addition to dinners, Bjorkman hosts events such as an annual seafood cook-off and croquet tournament, to promote tourism.
Royce, who attended both and won the tournament this year, said whether for dinner, a stay or a party, “people need to experience the [inn’s] hospitality and cuisine.”
“It’s a marvelous combination. ... Between Bill and Jackie, they just make you feel so at home there.”
The Cox-Roosevelt Inn at STone Wall Farm is on Dogtown Road, mailbox 1012. Take W.Va. 7 East, to Reedsville, take W.Va. 92 South through Arthurdale, turn left onto Dogtown Road. Mailbox 1012 is on the left. Reservations are required. Guests must call at least a few days in advance. Cost for dinner is $45. Info and reservations: 304-864-3405.