Av’s been wanting to check more of the James Beard Classics winners off our list of restaurants to try (along with other JBF categories) so we gave the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky a try. It’s in a lovely building from 1845 that’s served as various educational institutions and has been run in its current function since 1919. With the outbuildings, there are 33 acres altogether.
The restaurant is housed inside the 1845 building, and it has several common areas for relaxing
Inside one case, their Duncan Hines award
Founded by Glave Goddard and Annie Bell Goddard in 1917, the Beaumont, which opened for business in 1919, is still operated by their descendants. Set in a former women’s college built in 1845, the Beaumont main house is columned and formal. And the menu is deeply rooted in Kentucky. The Dedman family, now at the helm, serves Kentucky products with pride, including Weisenberger meal, Meacham hams, and bourbons from the best distillers in the state.
Recipes for dishes like corn pudding and fried chicken, handed down through five generations, form the core of the menu. As their forebears did, the Dedmans serve two-year-old country ham, which they bring to maturation in their own aging house. Little has changed since the days when the pioneering critic Duncan Hines was a regular. “Now write this down for the people in Kentucky,” he told a reporter back in 1949. “[Say] I’ll be happy to get home and eat two-year-old ham, cornbread, beaten biscuits, pound cake, yellow-leg fried chicken, and corn pudding. And you can say what I think is the best eating place in Kentucky: Beaumont Inn at Harrodsburg.”
Display from their James Beard Award in 2015
Even the pats of butter are longing for the past: they’re from rose-shaped moulds.
The most classic dish on the menu: “yellow-legged” fried chicken and two-year-old Kentucky-cured country ham, green beans and corn pudding — all fabulous
I had the *most* delicious fried chicken livers with cream gravy, whipped potatoes, and (curiously) grilled red onion
Afterward, we went outside and played shuffleboard
…and Av decided this would be a great spot for a post-prandial nap
Of the restaurants Duncan Hines recommended in his ‘Adventures in Good Eating’ books, one person has started a thread of those establishments still open. Of the 164 listed on the 1935 Christmas card list, it seems that perhaps 37 still exist, with the only one further south than Kentucky being Antoine’s (several, several more are still extant from the Duncan Hines books since that first list).