Briar Faure Mewbourne and her four younger sisters have 33 years of them, as they grew up in the Golden Pheasant Inn, a circa-1857 restaurant/hotel 10 minutes north of New Hope in Bucks County. “We’d come down for breakfast and someone would be knocking on the front door, ‘Can I make a reservation?’” Mewbourne said.
But seeking to spend more time with their families, the sisters — three of whom operated the Golden Pheasant after their parents, Michel and Barbara Faure, retired in 2011 — have decided to sell the property, on River Road in Erwinna, Tinicum Township; its last day was June 2.
On July 22, Traiman Auction Co. will auction the real estate, business, and liquor license; its list price is $2.9 million.
Mewbourne emphasized that her family owns it outright and that no financial difficulties had prompted the sale. “This was purely a decision that we made for a better balance in our lives,” said Mewbourne, who moved to Florida two years ago.
After taking over, the sisters renovated the one-time mule-barge stop, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, over a nine-month period in 2012, upgrading the four guest rooms and owner’s apartment, as well as all major systems.
Their mother, Barbara, who ran the front of the house and after retirement helped care for her grandchildren, died unexpectedly early last year. Their father, Michel Faure, a Paris-trained chef who came to America in 1967 at the behest of New Hope entertainer/restaurateur Odette Myrtil, is in an assisted-living facility in Doylestown.
Sister Brittany Faure Booz, who ran the dining room in its most recent incarnation, has two young children. Blake Faure and her partner, Jon Ramsay, who were the inn’s chefs, have one child; they plan to move to California, where he has family. Sisters Brooks and Blaise did not work at the inn toward the end, their sister said.
“Being a mother and working in a restaurant, it’s hard,” said Mewbourne, who was 18 years old in 1986 when her parents bought the Golden Pheasant and moved the family from Solebury Township. “It’s a lot of time away from your family. You’re working when everyone else is playing.”
Michel Faure, who in his day was one of the French culinary lions in the region, had been a chef at Le Bec-Fin, the Hotel Du Pont, and the nearby Carversville Inn, and he looked at the move as a solid business opportunity. His daughters got a daily hands-on lesson in all aspects of a restaurant.
“A lot of my memories are the overlap of growing up in a restaurant and having holidays as a family with our customers,” Mewbourne said. One time, a child having dinner with her parents started opening the Faure family’s Christmas gifts under the tree.
Mewbourne remembers Blake staying up way past her usual bedtime one New Year’s Eve to work as the coat-check girl, who needed her sister to bail her out at 12:30 a.m. when customers sought their correct coats.
The family also worked through heartache. In 1995, Barbara Faure pleaded guilty to setting fire to a bed in which her husband was sleeping; he refused to testify and she received two years’ probation. “Every marriage has its ups and downs, especially those in the restaurant business,” Mewbourne said. “My parents, at the end of the day, loved the business, they loved the family, and they loved each other.”