BENNINGTON — One of Bennington’s most luxurious inns is about to have fine dining to match.
The Four Chimneys Inn was purchased last March by Marc Baetens and Kathryn Goble for $1.7 million, and the couple has continued to operate the picturesque and historic property as a bed and breakfast since then. The restaurant has not been open since 2016, but that’s about to change.
The Four Chimneys Restaurant, which Baetens said will specialize in “fine dining French cuisine,” is set to open back up the evening of Friday, June 2. From there, it will be open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (last seating at 9 p.m.), and for lunch from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m on Sundays.
“We will have a nice little restaurant, of about 40 people that we can seat at a time. We can probably do that about twice an evening. So that would be roughly 80 people in an evening that we can accommodate,” Baetens said.
Baetens suggests make your reservations now if you want to get in anytime soon, though.
“First priority goes to guests in the inn,” said Baetens. The new restaurant’s policy will be to give reservation preference to guests that have booked an overnight stay at the inn if it’s two weeks in advance. “And then it’s based on availability. So we can’t guarantee up front that there will still be tables free, because if the inn is full, then that already occupies quite a bit.”
Baetens said after guests at the inn have been taken care of, they’ll move on to guests who book through OpenTable.
The Four Chimneys certainly won’t be rushing any patrons out the door as they take in the fine-dining experience. Guests can order from an a la carte menu, or opt for the seven-course “degustation” menu, which must be booked a week ahead of time.
The upper-class establishment’s kitchen will be run by a man referred to on the inn’s website simply as Chef Olivier, one of Pownal’s own who has experience working in three-Michelin-star restaurants. Chef Olivier most recently worked under critically-acclaimed chef Tim Wiechmann at Arlington’s new German/ Central European restaurant, Bronwyn, which opened in January.
Baetens and Goble already have hospitality experience. They had spent nine years in Baetens’ home country of Belgium, running a bed and breakfast there prior to purchasing the Four Chimneys last year. Baetens said that they were ready for a new challenge in a new place, and considered exotic locales like Dubai, but ultimately landed on the inn on West Road.
Baetens said the plan is for him to run the restaurant and his wife to run the inn. They also have aims of building a new building that will be specifically for weddings that will accommodate up to 150 people. Baetens says the hope is to have that ready in 2025.
Baetens doesn’t seem to have any complaints since relocating to Vermont.
“It’s amazing,” Baetens said of living in Bennington. “It’s like being on holidays all the time.”
“We are very very excited about the opportunity and about the start of the restaurant,” he later added.