Editor’s note: This is part of a series the Aiken Standard will run periodically on locally-owned restaurants around Aiken County. To have your restaurant included, email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you visit the historic Rose Hill Estate, you never know what you will find. A wedding could be unfolding in the gardens, or an organization might be throwing a celebration in the Main House.
As you walk down into the property, you will find The Stables. This restaurant is spread out across five seating areas: a dining room, a bar area, a screened-in porch, an outdoor patio and a beer garden.
There’s two menus from which guests can choose – a dining room menu and a bar and patio menu. Each features German cuisine, since owners Eva and her son Stephen Mueller have family roots tied to the European country, according to assistant manager Kena Black.
Other items on the dining room menu include the scallop and squid salad, the chicken pesto fettuccine and the ratatouille – a dish made of seasonal vegetables and roasted indigo potatoes.
The bar and patio menu contains dishes such as the Reuben sandwich, the pharaoh quail and the Stable burger.
The main man behind the cooking operation is Nathan Johnson, according to Stephen Mueller. Johnson, who earned his culinary art degree from Johnson & Wales University, is from Aiken.
“He understands (the context of Aiken) and cares. It reflects upon him,” Mueller said.
All of the food made at The Stable is homemade, and most of it is locally produced.
One night a week, that food can be enjoyed with live entertainment. Come out on a Friday, and you will catch a band performing out on the patio. Some popular and past performers have been Gavin Winship from Northern England, Gavin Reily, Oliver West & 39 Express and Chris Morgan.
At the heart of it all, the restaurant stands on two themes – hospitality and flexibility, according to Mueller.
“(If) people want to get dressed up, that’s fine. (If) people want to wear their shorts and bring their dogs, it’s perfect,” he said.
Yes, outdoor diners can even come with their furry companions.
The dining experience at The Stables is a recent addition to the Estate, Black said. About three or four years ago, the Muellers wanted to do something with the space, so Stephen did some research.
He found that only three historic estates in the nation had decided to convert their horse stables to a restaurant. It was that novelty factor that grabbed his attention.
“Stephen and Eva had to do extensive work here,” Black said.
They added in a kitchen and on to what is now the bar area, she said. If you peek in the dining room, you will still see hoof marks in the wall because, according to Black, all the original wood was used in construction.
In January and February, The Stables is operated in the Main House, according to Black. The estate also does bed and breakfast and catering, for which Johnson also heads the cooking.
People may also stay overnight at the sites available, like the rooms in the Main House, according to the Estate’s website.
When the Muellers bought Rose Hill in 2002, it had been abandoned for almost 20 years, according to Stephen. Now it stands as only Aiken property with all of its original properties.
The estate was constructed in 1900 by Sheffield Phelps, according to the City of Aiken website. It is located at 221 Greenville St. N.W.
For more information, call 803-648-1181 or visit www.rosehillestate.com or its Facebook at Rose Hill Estate & Stables Restaurant.
Stephanie Turner has a hand on all areas of production for the Aiken Standard, where she reports, edits and designs pages. She graduated in July 2012 with a journalism degree from Valdosta State University and lives with her family in Evans, Ga.
Aiken Standard File Photo Dr. John Gleichauf and Katie Thompson share a moment while the music plays at a past event at Rose Hill Estate. A part of the dining experience at the Estate is eating outside.×
Submitted photo by James Moser Food sizzling up at The Stables.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner Rose Hill Estate is the site of weddings, receptions, meetings and more. It now has been standing in Aiken for more than 100 years.×