Winslow's Restaurant


.... ALL YOUR FAVORITES, AND SO MUCH MORE!


WRITTEN BY KRISTEN SCHULTZ  |  PHOTOS BY SUSAN BLACKBURN PHOTOGRAPHY

For 73 years customers have found much more than simply food at Winslow’s; they’ve found a place to belong. Opened in 1948 as a gas station, grocery store and taproom, Winslow’s served weary travelers and locals alike at its spot on Route 9. Today, Winslow’s is still the warm and homey place it has always been. From the rustic wood paneling to the friendly staff, the once-roadside tavern is still a place where friends and strangers are welcomed.

Today, Winslow’s is owned by Jeffrey Baker, a Culinary Institute of America alum who has also helmed the kitchen for 34 years. Baker bought the business from his grandparents and for more than three decades, he and his staff have kept the tradition of hospitality alive – even through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been so blessed,” said Baker. “Restaurants have gone through so much. Prices went up, we had to find new suppliers but through the pandemic staff has been helping the whole time and the community has really supported us.”

When indoor dining was shut down, Baker culled the menu from 60 items down to a handful that were available for takeout. Winslow’s also hosted a few outdoor dinner events for the community including a barbecue and a fried chicken night.

Even when Baker and the staff could welcome guests back to tables, it made more sense to keep the menu small, especially with many key ingredients, like chicken breast and turkeys, in short supply or simply not available. 

While supply chain issues challenge nearly every sector of the economy, the kitchen at Winslow’s is once again offering a full but curated menu of starters, mains, desserts, and specials – along with a wide selection of wines, beers and spirits.

For starters, there is the bruschetta. This classic appetizer rotates on and off the menu so if it is available during your visit, be sure to try it. A line of five oven-crisped toasts comes topped with a mix of diced tomatoes, red onion, basil, garlic, vinegar, and oil and is drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The toast maintains a slight crunch under the light and savory toppings giving the dish texture and flavor. 

The cozy bowl of French onion soup comes served in a crock. Under a golden, cheesy lid, the bread soaks up the onion and broth for a flavor that is savory with a touch of sweetness. Baker takes two days to make the broth. He lets the browned-bone and mirepoix beef stock simmer for 12 hours. The next day he caramelized the onions and finishes them with sherry and lemon.  

The stuffed mushroom caps are a substantial starter that features six caps plated around a ladle-full of marinara sauce. The chef tucks a savory and zesty finely ground stuffing of sausage, apples, oranges, port wine and bread crumbs into each cap and melts a blanket of mozzarella on top.

Grandmother’s marinara recipe. Fennel anise, no sugar.

The menu section header for the main courses reads “Big Plates” and the description is accurate. The chicken parmesan is served with a side of pasta and features a dinner plate-sized, half-inch thick chicken breast that gets breaded and fried then finished with marinara and melty mozzarella cheese. The marinara sauce is Baker’s grandmother’s recipe which includes fennel and anise and excludes sugar. The sauce has a brightness that pairs with the richness of the fork-tender breaded chicken.  

If you prefer seafood, you can opt for the grilled diver sea scallops, which has become a signature dish at Winslow’s. Five sweet, grilled scallops are served ringed around a helping of creamy, rich mushroom risotto, drizzled with lobster sauce and topped with a tangle of fried leeks. The scallops are firm and sweet with a hint of caramelization from the grill.  

No visit to Winslow’s would be complete without ordering a turkey dinner. A staple of the restaurant through the generations, the dish is a plate of tradition enjoyed and a menu mainstay. Slices of juicy white and dark meat turkey are set over herbed stuffing. Then the plate gets a helping of mashed potatoes before everything is covered in gravy. Tangy, smooth cranberry sauce completes the dish. 

Winslow’s offers early bird specials on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The special includes a beverage, salad or soup and choice of one of five small-sized entrees plus dessert.

Whether you dine inside at one of the more than 50 seats, at the bar or outside on the patio overlooking the pond, you will enjoy the service as well as the food. Servers are attentive and accommodating, treating you like family. In fact, employees – current and former – have become like family to Baker. When he recently celebrated his son’s wedding, current and former employees were among the guests.

“I’ve had a lot of employees over the years,” Baker said. “So many of them come back years later and I get to meet their families. Some have gone on to do great things in the restaurant industry.”

For all the friends and memories Baker has made (including watching his son get off the school bus and do homework at a dining room table while Baker prepped for dinner service), the restaurant veteran is ready for his next adventure.

Baker put Winslow’s up for sale just as the pandemic hit and it is still on the market. 

“Customers have watched me grow up and they give me more joy than anything,” he said. “But I’ve done what I can do and I’m ready for a new adventure.”

Wherever that new adventure takes him, Baker is overflowing with gratitude and humility. When he talks about the sustained success of Winslow’s, he is quick to recognize the staff and customers who have contributed to that success.

“I feel honored that I’ve been a part of this town and this community,” Baker said. 


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