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Ian (right) told Chef Bill (left) to wear his fanciest chef coat because he knew we’d ask to take their photo. What a true friend.

You probably know The Sly Fox as the little piece of London nestled in Southern Pines, but we sat down with chef Bill Dill and general manager Ian Drake for a little Q&A on the ins and outs of running a gastropub. What did we learn? Well, Ian has a super cool British accent and chef Bill is the meat cutting and barbecuing master. But don’t worry, there’s more.

Q: We’ll start with a little background. How did you both end up in your current roles. Specifically you, Ian? I’m assuming you’re not from ’round these parts.

I: I worked for a British embassy in Washington, D.C. actually. Met my wife there and we were married a year later. My post ran up at the embassy and they wanted me to go back to England but I didn’t want to go, so I took retirement and moved here with her. She’s a North Carolina Native. I met Mark while eating at Elliott’s and The Sly Fox had only been open for about 6 months. I started out as a bartender and just worked my way up.

CB: I moved here to follow golf at the end of ’98 and worked at the resort. I got tired of the corporate life, so I took a job at The Pine Crest Inn and worked my way up to executive chef, which is how I got the job here.

I: And he’s the barbecue master.

Q: So how much does The Sly Fox resemble a pub in England. You know, besides the telephone booth in front of the restaurant.

I: Oh, it’s very authentic. Even the way it’s laid out, you see? It has a dining room and then a room with more comfortable chairs where people can eat. If this place was in London, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Q: So, Chef Bill — how did you learn to make those traditional English dishes as an American and make them as authentic as possible?

CB: It’s just home cookin’. The shepherds pie, the bangers and mash. It’s all home cookin’ at the end of the day, which is where I got my start when I worked with a small catering business out of New Bern. We also follow a very traditional recipe.

I: We don’t put our own spin on it or anything. The English dishes you find here is basically what you get in London.

Q: Do you have the stamp of approval of people who come in from Britain?

I: Oh, absolutely. We have a big English community here and they come in often. But also, the Americans who have lived in or traveled to Britain say our food tastes very authentic.

Q: So Elliott’s on Linden is really big on the farm to table concept. How does the Sly Fox follow that concept?

CB: It helps in the development of our menu because when we’re creating our menu, we look to see what farms are close to us. We also like to support local farms.

I: And the produce is fresher.

CB: And it lasts longer.

Q: Can you tell me how The Sly Fox got its name?

*Ian and Bill exchange glances*

I: You’ll probably have to ask Mark about that one honestly.

Q: Alright, well I’ve asked all of my questions, but is there anything either of you would like to add that I didn’t cover?

I: What about beer?

Ah, yes. The important things. Do you have a lot of British beers on tap?

I: Oh yes, we’ve got a huge selection of English beers but also a big selection of European beers.

Q: What’s your favorite British beer?

I: Definitely Fuller’s London Pride and Old Speckled Hen. I grew up pretty close to the Fuller brewery in London.

And Ian?

CB: I’m more of an IPA man.

Noted, good sir.

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