Indian Fields Tavern

Inspired culinary destination

“We want to create an adult Disneyland, a place where people can come enjoy food, a beer, and roam around the different outdoor activities.” Pat and Debbie Weller, owners of the Indian Fields Tavern, draw inspiration from their Pacific Northwest roots when envisioning the eclectic gathering space along Virginia’s famous Route 5 Capital Trail, in Charles City County.

The owners drove by the old farmhouse restaurant while visiting family in Petersburg, Virginia. “We were traveling down Route 5 and in the middle of the cornfields was this farmhouse and property.” Pat saw the vision; Debbie was a little skeptical, “I wondered if anyone would want to travel out this far for a dining experience.”  Debbie’s initial apprehensiveness soon abated once the couple visited Shirley Plantation and saw the popularity of food-and-beverage destinations. “We pulled up a very unassuming driveway and were surprised to see the number of people visiting Shirley Plantations’ Upper Shirley vineyards and restaurant.” They decided to put together a business plan and reignite the defunct Indian Fields Tavern.

In early 2017, the interior was renovated, including a brand-new kitchen, infused with reclamation projects throughout the property. The old farmhouse creaks underfoot as Capital Trail travelers saunter to the bar, the aged sturdiness of the architecture juxtaposes the modern fare; roughhewn tabletops with antiqued bronze pipework legs dot the nooks of the interior and screened porch. There is an easy gravity once you arrive that beckons you stay awhile. The couple was inspired by McMenamins, a regional chain of brewpubs in Oregon and Washington that specialize in rehabilitation projects as part of the brewpub experience. “We wanted to use as much natural, reclaimed, and local material as possible to create little spaces within the larger space, so as people walked about the property, they will experience different activities and delights.”

The menu received an upgrade, inspired by their Northwestern roots. The couple hired an executive chef from Portland, Oregon to establish their scratch-kitchen style menu and set the culinary operations in place.  Many food items draw from Pat’s days spent as a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea and Pacific Northwest waters.  “Our menu blends Pacific fare with some Southern influences; importantly, we make sure to always have fresh wild-caught fish.” Wild Alaskan cod, ahi tuna, and wild sockeye salmon are menu staples, along with Southern specialties Carolina shrimp, fried chicken – battered in a deliciously delicate coating – and fried pickles and pimento dip for lighter appetites.

Future growth includes a converted barn into an outdoor event space.  Two silos will convert into outdoor food bars, restrooms, and beach style showers - in case some of the activities on the grounds require a quick rinse – a brewery, and a small house will host Airbnb rental units.

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