In 1965, a couple of one-time acquaintances from French-speaking Switzerland ran into each other in New York City and the chance encounter led to the creation of the Mile Away Restaurant.
Ernest Kehl and Joseph Zund, two old hands around the kitchen, had not seen each other in a decade when they bumped into each other at a Manhattan restaurant. After the meeting, Kehl, a former bartender and restaurateur, had a somewhat quirky idea – open up an American-Continental restaurant in the barn of an 18th Century farmhouse he had purchased in Milford. After corresponding with Zund, a baker who specialized in Swiss pastries, then living in Philadelphia, the two old friends decided to refit the barn, hire a chef and open for business on March 8, 1967. With Zund running the kitchen and Kehl patrolling the dining room, they would be in business for the next 27 years.
From the beginning, the place had appeal – what Sandy Murphy, a first-grade teacher who bought the restaurant with her husband Kevin in 1996, called “the charm of the barn.” With its oversized fireplace, surrounding stone walls and beautiful gardens, the Cape Cod farmhouse had been the former summer retreat of dairy magnate H.P. Hood. When it was built in 1746, the house was located a “mile away” from the center of the now defunct town of Monson, thereby acquiring its name “Mile Away Farm.” Although many locals assume that the restaurant is a mile away from the Oval, it’s not – that trip is over 2 miles, but certainly worth making.