Sen. Harding helps honor Kent’s Fife ‘N Drum Restaurant

January 23, 2023


Popular Kent restaurant celebrating milestone in usual style




KENT — For half a century, the Fife ‘n Drum Restaurant has been a warm and welcoming destination for legions of customers, both locally and from afar. With its crackling fireplaces on cold winter days, eye-catching artwork of local figures long gone and soft music being played on the piano, the atmosphere draws those looking for good food, conversation and chance meetings with old friends.


The 50-year milestone was celebrated this weekend, beginning Thursday, when owner Elissa Potts opened the restaurant at 53 Main St. to everyone. Wine flowed, endless platters of hors d’oeuvres were offered, reminiscences abounded and Larry Ham’s piano music added to the evening.

Potts, who is planning to write about the landmark in the near future, took over ownership and operation of the restaurant from her parents, the late Dolph and Audrey Traymon. She spoke about the couple who migrated to Kent from Long Island, N.Y., where Dolph Traymon was in a restaurant partnership with two others and ready to move on. Audrey Traymon, who sold Gordon Fraser greeting cards, was familiar with the area because northern Litchfield County was part of her territory.

One day she asked her husband to accompany her on a business trip. They saw the restaurant for sale, and as Potts said, “The rest is history.”

She said it was the 1970s and the couple faced many challenges, such as the oil embargo that hampered deliveries and forced them to travel distances to procure supplies. The building underwent extensive renovations and eventually an addition to become a centerpiece of the town. It now includes an inn and gift shop on the property.

A big draw was always Dolph Traymon playing the piano. Potts said her father’s music became “such an inherent part of coming into this building.” Calling piano his “absolute joy,” Potts said Traymon loved playing at the restaurant, had an incredible repertoire of songs he’d play for customers at their request and would remember regular customers’ favorite songs.


State Rep. Maria Horn, DSalisbury, and state Sen. Stephen Harding, R-Brookfield, were on hand Thursday to present Potts with two General Assembly citations — one for the restaurant and one for her. They noted the restaurant’s commitment to serving the community, adding, “Thank you so much for all you’ve done to be a part of the fabric and culture of our communities that makes it a destination for hospitality and economic activity.”

Brothers Art and Norm Cummings of New Milford were among the celebrants. They’ve been coming to the Fife, as it’s commonly known, for decades.

“It’s the most comfortable, relaxing, warmest place around,” Art Cummings said. “Elissa and the whole staff are so welcoming. It can serve as a shelter in a storm.”


He warmly remembered Dolph Traymon, calling him “a classy guy.”
Steve Vaughn said he and his partner, Tom Sebring, have been coming to the restaurant since 1981.

“Dolph and Audrey sort of adopted us,” he said, noting how they spent many special times and holidays together. “They always made us feel at home.”

Dale Ripley remembered how she worked at the Fife as a server and cocktail waitress when it first opened. She was close to the family, attending Elissa Potts’ wedding to her husband, George Potts. She’s witnessed many of the changes at the site over the years.

Lisa and Doc Simont of Cornwall said Saturday lunches at the Fife are common for them.

Lisa Simont was a member of Kent Singers along with George Potts, and the group often came to the restaurant after rehearsals.

Looking around the room, she said, “They have such a loyal following.”

Photo credit: Ruth Epstein/ Waterbury Republican American 

Photo credit: Ruth Epstein/ Waterbury Republican American