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Patriot Tavern: Fantastic Food, Cozy Home-Like Atmosphere in Walpole, Massachusetts

Patriot Tavern restaurant and bar, Walpole, Massachusetts

Patriot Tavern, Walpole , Massachusetts.

Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 12/3/2018.

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Consider the Patriot Tavern in Walpole, Massachusetts the restaurant version of the comeback player of the year.

The Patriot Tavern recently completed an ambitious renovation project with a talented local carpenter and crew working with the skill and craft of what you would see on HGTV, and a new husband and wife management team (Nora and Steven Hixon) that helped turn this former dive into a real restaurant with a terrific menu.
Before the older and newer versions of the Patriot Tavern, Karol's Cafe took up residence for many years with its dive look and the famous Krueger Ale sign. Look at the difference between then and now...

The former Karol's Cafe with the famous Krueger's Ale sign in Walpole, Mass.
Karol's Cafe, Walpole. Photo credit: Larry Cultrera,

Patriot Tavern at night in Walpole, Mass.
The renovated Patriot Tavern in 2017. Photo source: Patriot Tavern web site.

Amazing transformation, eh? All of a sudden, word-of-mouth brought crowds to the new Patriot Tavern with the main parking lot often full and cars parked along Route 1A and Bullard Road. It's almost like the Patriot Tavern became a go-to place overnight. A crowded restaurant parking lot is often the sign of a great restaurant, as a wise old uncle once told me! That ultimately translates to a busy restaurant where locals come together in a place that feels like someone's cozy living room...

Busy, busy, busy at the Patriot Tavern in Walpole MA!
Patriot Tavern bar and dining room area. Photo credit: Patriot Tavern web site.

"What makes it special to me and Nora is the customers and staff, seeing some of the same people and new ones ,and then really trying to go out and exceed expectations," said Steve. "Then I get from the guest that smile. That smile is when you know you hit a home run on a special drink or meal."

It's easy to see why locals and those from outside the area have been frequenting the Patriot Tavern: The refreshed bar and new dining room have a cozy feel, a beautiful new outdoor patio is perfect for leisurely summer dining, and the lunch and dinner menus deliver local favorites that also happen to taste delicious. That includes New England clam chowder, wings, burgers, roast turkey dinner, steak tips, pot roast, the "Mile High Meatloaf," haddock and fresh local salmon.

Steven is very happy with the menu options while he constantly updates seasonally.

"We change the menu three times a year," said Steven. "The focus is and always will be on comfort food with heart. During the summer, the menu is heavier with seafood. The fall menu is filled with seasonal delights like fried pumpkin ravioli. Coming in March, we will roll out short rib pot pie with cornbread crust."

True to tavern form, the Patriot Tavern offers an impressive drinks list and televisions to enjoy the games. The Patriot Tavern also goes beyond the normal tavern scene, as they recently started to serve breakfast on the weekends -- and with crowds that rival lunch and dinner time.

Mile high meatloaf from the Patriot Tavern in Walpole MA
Burger with cheese, fresh tomato and lettuce with fries on the side from the Patriot Tavern.

The Patriot Tavern almost feels like dining at a friend or family's home -- maybe that's because the restaurant is located in a historic house (probably built in the 1890s) that has a quaint New England vibe. Like a modest older residential New England home, it's small but welcoming and inviting. The Hixons and a friendly, local wait and bar staff help make it that way.  The staircase (no dining upstairs, though), hardwood floors, and a respect for keeping the innate architectural charm of the place intact lend a wonderful feel -- the ultimate neighborhood bar and restaurant, if you will.

Dining room at the Patriot Tavern in Walpole, Mass.
Dining room at the Patriot Tavern, Walpole, Mass. Photo source: Patriot Tavern web site.

For many locals, the Patriot Tavern couldn't have come soon enough.

"Patriot Tavern is warm and welcoming!" said Christine Fanciullo Sheedy, a Walpole resident."Having lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, I couldn't’ wait for it to open. Not only is the atmosphere warm and welcoming, (but) the staff, and owners make you feel like family. They get to know you personally, greet you, and continue to serve the community openly."

There's ultimately something so nice about dining out in a home instead of just a building.
While New England in nature, the Patriot Tavern almost reminds me of those wonderful rural roadside taverns in the Adirondack Mountains of New York -- that is, an unpretentious small town tavern discovery where you can sit down for a drink and food that goes beyond expectations.

"It is like a second home," said Pam Driscoll, of Walpole. "Steve and Nora go out of their way to accommodate all our different needs whether it be advice on a new drink, or an addition to the menu. It is a reprieve from every day life. Even our kids have been begging to come to burger night with us to gather and laugh and just be together to start the work week."

It's nice to see the Patriot Tavern finally deliver upon its promise. In the past, locals were curious about the Patriot Tavern -- as so many people love discovering a good roadside restaurant -- but never stepped into the place because of the dive factor and lack of menu. In reality, the past version of the Patriot Tavern was respectable and run well, but most people need more than just a place to drink.

"Comfortable, great staff, cozy atmosphere, good food, easy access," said Carol Sandahl, of Walpole. "We just love the place. We keep introducing friends to the tavern, and they take their friends."

Lina Lencioni, also of Walpole, added, "We were there this past weekend. Nice atmosphere and the food was delicious -- loved my burger with balsamic drizzle and bleu cheese crumbles!"

Isn't word of mouth in a small town a beautiful thing? The time has finally arrived for a beautiful, cozy full service restaurant at 100 Main St. that is also welcoming to families. If in the Walpole area (18 miles southwest of Boston), I would certainly recommend the Patriot Tavern to anyone looking for excellent comfort foods and drinks!

The Patriot Tavern is located at 100 Main Street, Walpole MA. Tel. 802-824-6047.

Also, log onto the Patriot Tavern Facebook Page and Patriot Tavern Twitter Page for more information.

Update: If you enjoyed this story on the Patriot Tavern, please share the graphic below on Pinterest. Thanks!

Classic neighborhood restaurant and bar: The Patriot Tavern in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Editor's note: VisitingNewEngland business partnerships started on Jan. 30, 2017, and differ than feature articles previously posted on VisitingNewEngland. Businesses pay a small, one-time fee to have pages like this appear, and first must be accepted by editor and publisher, Eric Hurwitz, as a business he approves as part of "real New england travel" to keep the integrity of the site. Businesses that sign up for business partnerships receive priority by receiving more social media exposure and link placement on Contact me if interested in forming a business partnership.

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