The historic Buxton Inn’s tavern reopened on April 1, nearly two years after an electrical fire gutted the kitchen in the 212-year-old hotel and restaurant, but the kitchen and restaurant will not reopen.

While the structure was damaged by fire and smoke on Oct. 25, 2022, Jennifer Valenzuela, the inn’s general manager, said she made that decision over the course of restoration and reconstruction work.

“I might add some small plates here and there, but, you know, a lot of things have changed in Granville,” Valenzuela said. “It’s just not a very profitable business to run a restaurant.”

The hotel reopened to overnight guests six months after the fire, and Valenzuela said the inn will offer spaces in the inn for private events. The tavern opens at 3 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday in the inn at 313 E. Broadway, across from the Granville Inn. 

The restoration process at the oldest business in Granville, and one of the oldest inns in Ohio, was long and emotional, but Valenzuela said she is grateful for what it taught her.

“With any type of adversity or challenge or difficult situation, you just take it day-by-day and keep moving forward,” she said. “It’s when you stop, and you let the weight of the situation consume you that it’s not good.” 

The Buxton Inn’s intricately painted fireboards placed in front of the fireplaces in the summer and lustrous chandeliers may not give away any evidence of what the inn has been through in the past few years, but the loss of the restaurant is certain to have a significant impact on Granville for years to come.

The fire that sent thick smoke across Granville reduced the kitchen to a broken, smoldering shell, and some nearby guest rooms were affected and remain closed.

Though the restaurant will remain closed, the Inn’s Tavern reopened in early April. Credit: Abby Jump

The renovation included updated safety measures, but Valenzuela said it would not be worth re-opening the restaurant. For now, the Buxton Inn will focus on its other hospitality services, providing overnight guestrooms and the tavern, and remaining available for small, private events.

Born 30 miles away in Reynoldsburg, Valenzuela said she began working at the Buxton shortly after her father, Robert Schilling, purchased the inn from its previous long-time owners in 2014.

Her background in interior design aided her work in refreshing the inn while still honoring the rich history within every wooden board. 

The Buxton opened as a tavern in 1812, and later became an inn.

“We don’t get the crazy crowds that we used to, but people still enjoy just coming in here to learn the history,” said Buxton Event Manager Arlena Dean, who has worked at the Buxton since the early 1980s.

The Buxton Inn has five staff members, three of whom are recent hires. 

Mark Golden, 48, originally from Pittsburgh, has worked the inn’s front desk since the 1990s. He has worked in numerous hotels, he said, but the Buxton appealed to him because of its unique history. Despite the recent hardships the inn and its staff faced because of the fire, Golden remains proud of the business.

“This place persevered against it all when a lot of family-owned and operated places would have thrown in the towel, so it’s pretty great to see them stick it out,” Golden said. “All things considered, they are like the phoenix from the ashes.”

Abby Jump writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers.