New Restaurants to Try in 2021: Coach House

by Marisa Marsey | Feb 8, 2021

Coach House

Photo by Marisa Marsey

You can’t be all things to all people. And yet, Coach House comes close, checking every box from “grabbing a sandwich” to “hanging with buds” to “indulging in romantic three-course dinners.” It’s as convivial as a tavern, but evocative cocktails and selectively savvy wines dispel any notion it’s merely a watering hole. Cuisine and service are fine dining-worthy, yet the feel is decidedly homey. And it’s contemporary while laced with nostalgia (a predecessor at this NoCo site was called Coach House, and the Igloo burger honors the original, 1940s-era pub here).

Chalk it up to the combined 75 years of experience of owners Kevin and Dana Kern and John Power. They’re a hometown team (all Maury High alum) with impeccable restaurant chops (No Frill and Bobbywood for the Kerns, and Blue Point in Duck, N.C., which Power co-owns). Their expertise shines, especially in pandemic adaptations like the bar’s Plexiglas dividers and HVAC-UV lighting to purify the air 24/7.

Consistency and quality undergird a menu encompassing snacks (Virginia house-roasted peanuts, Eastern Shore oysters Rockefeller), soups and greens (short rib chili, Kevin’s chicken salad), sandwiches (duck BBQ, lobster rolls), small plates (soba noodles with tofu), and big plates (Creole étoufée, bison meatloaf). The something-for-everyone appeal makes Coach House, as the name implies, a warm, welcoming, stable place to be.

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