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The Bull-Swyft House in the center of Kent has been central to community life since its construction in the late 18th century, housing successive generations of the Swyft and Bull families, serving as a temporary space for Kent Episcopalians, as a “lubritorium” servicing early automobiles and later as a pharmacy and ice cream parlor.

Now it continues its long history as Swyft, a modern, upscale eatery, that will soon be joined by a second restaurant, Ore Hill, located in the same building. Both restaurants are the creation of James Beard Award-nominated chef Joel Viehland, formerly the executive chef at the highly esteemed Community Table in Washington CT.

The old house saw many changes in its first 200 years but many more were needed to turn it into the upscale restaurants. Extensive research preceded the 2016 restoration that converted Swyft’s interior into a warmly inviting, pine-clad, 40-seat tavern space with exposed 1780 post-and-beam construction. Ore Hill, its fine-dining counterpart, will be more formal, but will continue the rustic appeal, to be furnished with Shaker-inspired tables and chairs.

The two-in-one restaurants will share one chef. Viehland works closely with Anne Bass, a philanthropist and long-time Kent resident. Bass owns the building that houses the restaurants and Viehland sources many of the ingredients used in creating his dishes—from grass-fed Randall cattle for the beef to the 34 varieties of tomatoes grown there—from Bass’ nearby Rock Cobble Farm.

The menu at Swyft is Southern Italian-based but Viehland’s pizza dough, made with five artisanal flours, raises his pizza to an art form. Pizza varieties include the Al Diavolo (soppressata, tomato, house-made mozzarella and hot honey) and the South Kent, a white pie with potato, pancetta, kale ricotta and garlic as well as the always popular Margherita.

Beef used for burgers at Swyft comes from the Randall cattle raised on Rock Cobble Farm and the extensive beer selection offers local brews such as nearby Kent Falls Brewing Co while the cocktail and wine lists combine familiar favorites with new discoveries.

Veihland will serve creative, avant-garde meals in a fine-dining atmosphere in Ore Hill, expected to open soon.

Swyft, at 3 Maple Street, is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-10PM and is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Wednesday-Saturday, noon-2:30PM and Sunday, 5-8:30PM. Take-out orders are available by calling 860-592-0404. Online, please click the link below.