The Inn at Montross in Montross
Review from Virginia Bride Magazine
By Grace E. Pedalino
With a few notable exceptions, bed and breakfasts are not known for fine dining. The Inn at Montross is one of those exceptions. They have all of the pluses of staying at a B&B—and then some—not the least of which is the food.
Unlike many bed and breakfasts, The Inn at Montross started out as an inn. The present building was built around 1800, but even before that there is evidence that there may have been a tavern on the land. In around 1695, records show that 110 acres, known as “the Tavern Tract,” was deeded to Patrick Spence. Whether a tavern was built, and by whom, is not recorded.
The building has seen use as a tavern, a hotel, restaurant, private residence, boarding house, school and apartments.
In the mid-1970s the building was remodeled and was used once again as an inn and restaurant. Trained at the Culinary School of Arts in Atlanta, Cindy Brigman Syndergaard’s dream of owning an inn was realized in 1997 when she purchased the building. It was popular destination for many years when she had to return to Atlanta for family reasons.
The Inn changed hands and sadly, the beautiful building was allowed to decay. Brigman Syndergaard, and her business partners, repurchased the property and extensively restored and renovated it, bringing it back to its former glory.
The older part of The Inn has the original heartpine floors, and during the course of the renovation, the original exterior siding was uncovered and carefully removed and preserved. The planks were reused in the aptly named Spence Tavern—the Inn’s lounge area.
As much care as was taken with the renovation and redecorating of the Inn, as much attention and more is given to the food. Although an experienced and trained chef herself, Brigman Syndergaard brought in a Cordon Bleu trained chef, Tim Sisson. She modestly explains, “I’m a good chef, but Tim is great.”
They are both commited to locally sourced foods and seasonal cooking as much as is possible. The wine list features Virginia wines as well. The style of cooking is classic with French influence. Don’t think that means over-priced and heavily sauced. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the cost of fine dining here as compared to that of the average big city meal.
The food is freshly prepared to order, and as is to be expected in the Northern Neck, the seafood is exquisite. Try the flounder crab roulade. If you’re more of a meat and potatoes person, filet mignon and griddled potatoes Anna may be just what you want. Vegetarians are not left out here, and they won’t have to suffer from the usual badly prepared and boring pasta dish. Grilled tofu with house-made chipotle barbecue sauce may tempt even the most confirmed meat eater. The spring rolls with a trio of sauces is a starter you should definitely sample while here—or maybe the house made onion rings?—order both and share with the table. Leave room for dessert, though. They are equally good and are either house- or locally-made.
The Inn is open Thursday through Saturday for dinner, and Sunday for brunch. Thursday’s bistro night gives you options of a carving station, a pasta bar, or both, with dessert and salad. Go another night too, though, and order from the regular menu. You won’t be disappointed.
The restaurant is tastefully and comfortably appointed, and the accoustics allow for conversation. It seats 66–90 people comfortably, so this is an ideal place for an intimate wedding, wedding brunch or rehearsal dinner. It’s a local favorite for elegant events and was recently the scene for a black and white themed wedding. There is an excellent sound system for recorded music.
Planning a wedding can be such a stressful job, and sometimes couples may find themselves squabbling. Take a little alone time for yourselves and book a night or two at The Inn. The rooms are charming, romantic and spacious. Although the restaurant is only open to the public for dinner Thursday through Saturday, guests of the Inn are welcome to dine there at anytime during their stay. What could be more enticing and relaxing than a private candlelit dinner for two? Wine on the front porch at evening is highly recommended before your meal. After you’ve eaten, you may enjoy a stroll around the town of Montross, or perhaps just retire to your room for some peace and quiet.
Guests are indulged with a full breakfast with their stay, and it’s just as good as dinner. Cindy Brigman Syndergaard is a natural host, and she will make you feel welcomed and just a bit spoiled.
I guarantee after your stay here, any stress over the wedding will be forgotten. You may want to visit regularly during your wedding planning to unwind. And of course you will want to make it a favorite restaurant choice into the future. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner.