Josiah Smith Tavern Update: Master Lease

JST rendering from town website

If you live or have lived in Weston, or spent hours trying to get across the Intersection of Doom, you will be familiar with our postcard-worthy Josiah Smith Tavern. Once surrounded by elm trees and frequented by colonials, the Tavern went through many iterations, like an actual tavern, carriage-making, a home, a place to get second-hand clothes, and after a Town Meeting vote, a construction site for more than two years. During 2022, the tavern side (as opposed to the barn side) was also the host to the Historical Society’s wonderful exhibit, History Under One Roof. There, I’ve summed up at least 200 years for you all–you can also read more about the Tavern and particularly the renovation in this Owl from October 2021.

So what’s been going on in the background? So many questions. Are we ever going to have a place to eat edamame and quaff Trillium on tap? How many years can I re-use the April Fools joke about McDonald’s moving in? Have we spent enough time in rumor and innuendo on the community Facebook page? Are we even blaming the correct guilty parties there?

I can’t answer even half of those questions but fortunately, we have a crack reporter on the case, who got the following update from Adrienne Giske of Friends of the JST. He also listened very carefully to the January 10, 2023 Historical Commission meeting. Many thanks to Chris Paquin for sending on the following report:

Adrienne Giske of the Friends of the Josiah Smith Tavern gave a progress report on Tuesday, January 10, to the Weston Historical Commission.

The Friends of the JST received a 37-page draft master lease from the Select Board on December 24 , 2022. The draft has been under development since late 2021.  The Friends’ friendly attorney will be reviewing the draft. 

Once the master lease between the Town and the Friends is complete, they can formally begin the process of sub- leasing the space to a carefully selected “farm to table” restaurant operator. The space is expected to accommodate about 105 seats, with extra space available in the community room when needed. The Friends of the Tavern hold a liquor license for the space, granted them at Town Meeting in May 2008.

Six restaurant groups have toured the space so far and were enthusiastic about it. However, serious conversations can not begin until the Town/Friends lease is complete. After a finalist is selected and terms are negotiated, build out of the space can be expected to take 5-8 months, and cost well over $1,000,000. Build out cost is the responsibility of the restaurant tenant and is to be paid by them. [Owl Captain Obvious note: edamame will not be cheap at a restaurant that has invested that much. Expect truffle oil on them].

Adrienne said that the Friends will begin posting regular updates on the Town website soon. 


So, there’s the update on the restaurant. In addition, none of the three nonprofits has moved into the Tavern space–all have been awaiting the master lease in order to have their individual subleases. Weston Historical Society will *probably* be the first in, taking most of the ground floor. Weston Forest & Trail Association will get out of the woods and into a corner second-floor office sometime in 2023, and I do not have an update on the third nonprofit which is the Women’s Community League, soon to be re-branded as Weston Community League. We’ll all share a fridge on the second floor until the restaurant arrives, or draw straws to see who walks down to Weston Provisions for sandwiches and bowls (the latter a new menu item, yum!)

And that, I think, covers that. For now.

One comment

  • Thank you and Chris for providing that update. There have been a lot of questions swirling around and after that hefty town investment a progress update is most deserved and the very least town management should provide.

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