Colonel Blackinton Inn: A Taste of History in Attleboro
Owner Antony Canova shares the story of the Colonel Blackinton Inn.
The Colonel Blackinton Inn has stood in Attleboro for more than 150 years, and owner Antony Canova said he wants the long-standing icon to continue.
Canova said he started working in the food industry right out of college at the Four Seasons in Boston. After that, he ran the Cafe Assisi in Wrentham before setting up shop in Attleboro.
"I've been here for 10 years this October," he said. "I like it to be casual fine dining here. When people come in, I want them to feel comfortable, almost at home."
Canova said he wanted to be in the restaurant industry since he was 10. He said summer vacation was his favorite time because he got to see his restaurateur dad Luciano in action.
"Some days, my dad would bring me into work with him," he said. "I'd be there for a couple hours just hanging around the restaurant. It's something I always wanted to do."
He said he also interned at El Conquistador in Puerto Rico and spent time in Italy learning the trade.
"I'm the first generation to be born in the U.S.," he said. "Everybody else in the family is still over in Italy. My dad's the only one on his side of the family that is not in Italy."
Canova added both he and his father use recipes passed down in Italy for generations.
"A lot of these dishes my father has are family recipes," he said.
Canova said he prides himself on the quality of his food. He said even in tough economic situations, it's important not to cut corners.
"The consumer is much more aware than they used to be," he said. "The Food Network and things like that give you a more educated consumer. When times are a little tough, many restaurants change portions and the consumer catches on to that. The businesses that have tried to do that you see them suffering and they close their door. The places that have respected what they went into business for and tightened their belts are the ones pulling through this tough time."
Canova added he prides himself on thick cuts of steak and swordfish because this is where many restaurants, in his experience, fall short.
"The substance of what you're getting, especially in steaks and swordfish, is like a little sliver of meat," he said. "The owner is saying, 'Oh I need to make that 15 percent profit on everything,' and they get focused on that as opposed to the respect of the customer. Eventually, no one will come in because they felt they were duped."
Colonel Willard Blackinton originally served in the post-Revolutionary War militia, and was an inventor as well. He manufactured guns and invented new methods of producing cloth in the looms by means of a reinforced shuttle that broke down less often than previous models did.
He built the inn as a house for his two sons Willard and Amos Sweet Blackinton in 1849, while he resided at the residence across the street.
The Colonel Blackinton Inn, located at 203 North Main St., serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. Brunch is served on Sundays. Go here for the hours. Go here for information on room reservations.