Berne restaurant, Foxenkill to experience a ‘Renaissance’

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Waitstaff at the The Foxenkill Experience, set to open this fall in Knox, will wear Renaissance-era costumes, similar to those worn here at this year’s fair at Indian Ladder Farms. 

KNOX — The Foxenkill Tavern is scheduled to reopen this fall, this time with a twist: as a Renaissance-themed family-style restaurant.

“It’s going to be a bit more turned towards the family atmosphere,” said Joe Plouffe, who bought the restaurant last month with his fiancée, Kelly King.

The bar, for example, will remain, but will only serve those eating at the restaurant, said Plouffe, 51, of Berne.

“It’s not a tavern where you sit there for hours,” said Plouffe. “That keeps it a nice family restaurant.”

The restaurant will be renamed “The Foxenkill Experience,” he said. The primary fare will be steak and seafood, among other options.

Staff will be dressed in Renaissance-era garb, said Plouffe. Waitresses will dress as serving wenches and play a role, for example, and the couple hopes to decorate the restaurant with suits of armor.

“It’s an experience,” said King. “It’s a rebirth of the Foxenkill.”

Outside, they will be setting up a picnic area, and want to have an option for pickup so that families can either take a meal home or eat it outdoors on the premises, said Plouffe. On the weekends, they may host an outdoor event like a clambake, and during the holidays they may change the theme slightly to fit the holiday.

“It’s going to take a little time to do,” he explained.

Plouffe said that the goal is to open the restaurant by the end of September or early October, but it may be until next spring or summer that the couple has incorporated everything they hope to do, such as outdoor events.

The Foxenkill Tavern, located in the southwest corner of Knox, reopened last July under the management of Chris Shoemaker, the owner of the Duanesburg pizzeria Rosa Villa, almost a decade after it had closed. Real-estate records indicate the restaurant was put up for sale again at the end of last year.

Plouffe said that he and King bought the restaurant on July 19. Speaking to The Enterprise on Saturday, he said that, in the last three weeks, they had been doing major repairs to the building, including redesigning the kitchen to be more energy-efficient.

This is an area of expertise for Plouffe, who owns the Berne company Cornerstone Heating and Cooling. He stressed that he will continue to run his Cornerstone business while King manages the restaurant.

King, 50, also of Berne, currently works in a dentist’s office but has worked in restaurants before, she said. She hopes to employ, at first, three to five kitchen staff members and at least five part-time servers. She herself will be dressed in medieval garb, greeting patrons at the door.

“I’ll be the first person they see,” she said.

The idea for the theme came to her and Plouffe because they both enjoy Renaissance fairs, said King. The two attend fairs such as at Indian Ladder Farms in New Scotland and they have visited the restaurant Medieval Times in New Jersey.

“It just seemed like something fun for kids and family to enjoy,” King said.

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