Chef Jeremiah Brooks and his partner in business & life, Anthony Brooks, were looking forward to the spring of 2020 when crowds would begin returning to the small restaurant they had opened in historic Harpers Ferry the previous July. With a small dining room and patio, and an even smaller kitchen, Hamilton’s Tavern 1840 was an intimate space guaranteed to draw in travelers and locals alike. Feeling confident, Jeremiah and Anthony had also leased the space vacated by Mena’s Pizzeria further up the hill, with the thought to serve a more casual menu for locals.
With the pandemic, the easy decision to sign a long-term lease on their small restaurant suddenly looked untenable. And they were committed to renting the new space as well. With the same inventiveness that they bring to their guests’ tables every night, Jeremiah and Anthony decided to jump forward into a completely new plan — recreating the original Tavern in the new space. Opening just last month, the enthusiastic reception from the local community has confirmed their faith that they’ve made the right choice.
Anthony spoke a bit about what drives the success of the restaurant: “Chef Jeremiah focuses on the food and we create what we call experiential dining. It’s also important that we have a food network here in Jefferson County and the surrounding area. We can serve local tastes; it’s often a subtle thing, but people who will travel to experience food understand it. It extends beyond the food and wine to the energy the Chef brings to the table for each meal. We have team service and everyone participates to put on what we think of as a show, both on the plate and in the dining room.”
But Hamilton’s Tavern is not just for visitors. As Anthony describes it, “We view the restaurant as a platform for building the community. One of the fortunate changes from the move is the larger space, both inside and out. Chef Jeremiah appreciates the larger kitchen, and our guests appreciate the porches and patios. The large parking lot behind the restaurant makes it convenient for everyone too. ”
Anthony mentioned working with Bolivar Bread Bakery down the street — “We focus on sharing the community with our guests, whether that is bringing locally sourced food and ingredients into our restaurant — or sending a guest down the street for the specific cup of coffee we know they will enjoy.”
This engagement of the community was key to reopening in a new space in less than two months. “When you can work with the community, there is an energy that makes everyone stronger. As we realized it didn’t make sense to try serving guests in our old space with the pandemic restrictions, we started cooking for our team. And they worked for us to prepare the new space and move all of the interior elements up the hill. We had people in the community who came in and helped us with masonry and other construction with just the promise of a meal. I realized what we meant to the community one morning when I looked out the front door and saw what I thought was a flyer stuck under the doormat. Turns out it was a new mat, with a note from a neighbor who had put it there to thank us for welcoming the community to our restaurant.”
Hamilton’s Tavern 1840 is located at 914 Washington Street in Harpers Ferry. Visit the website for menus and reservations.By Staff Contributor