Highlighting the local chefs and restaurants that rock.
In the UK, pubs are more than just spaces to grab a drink and a bite to eat, they are an essential part of British culture and are even said to be the backbone of local life and nightlife, according to The UK Pub Co. If you have never traveled across the pond, and don’t have any plans to, Round Rock has got you covered with an authentic British pub experience at The Kenney Fort Pub. Located off North Kenney Fort Boulevard in Round Rock, this spot that rocks is serving up traditional pub fare with a side of Texas hospitality.
From Across The Pond To Round Rock, Texas
The Kenney Fort Pub was opened in 2020 by Tim Jones, a Brit and seasoned manager with over 20 years of experience working in the pub industry in the UK. Tim was born in Sussex and raised in Cambridge and he got his first job in a pub when he turned 18 years old, “When I finished school my first job was in pubs. I spent 22 years trying to get to where I wanted to be and managing pubs for the best part of 20 years in the UK. Met my wife and decided that once we were having a family it was time to take a break from that. We found Round Rock and ended up here.”
Making Round Rock Home
The move to Texas was a courageous one. After Tim and his wife’s honeymoon, they decided they wanted to move to America. After a quick Google search for “best places to live in America,” they came across Round Rock. “We found that Round Rock was the best place to be living at that moment whether it’s schools, environment, community, so we picked up the phone from England and bought our first house over the phone from England.”
Initially the Joneses would visit six months out of the year, but once they experienced Round Rock’s charm (namely the restaurants, overall environment, and southern hospitality) they decided to call Round Rock home full time. However, there was one thing they missed from back home, a local pub. “We lived in a little village of about 2 and a half thousand people in the UK. We have two local pubs. One is one we choose to go in every day, and I mean every day when we are there. It was built in 1609 and it has got a great environment where you walk in and you know someone. There is always someone to talk to. That is something we missed, and that is probably the biggest reason we decided to go along with this venture and open The Kenney Fort Pub.”
Round Rock locals and visitors alike are sure happy they did.
The History Of The Kenney Fort
After deciding to open a local pub in Round Rock, a very crucial decision had to be made next: what to name the pub. Tim mentions that every pub in the UK has a specific name, “Whether it’s ‘The Rose & Crown’ or ‘The Pheasant’, it’s related to something that happened around that area.” In keeping with the tradition, Tim decided to do a little research on the street name where their first Round Rock home was located.
“We bought our first house and it was on Kenney Fort Crossing. You do a bit of research and you find out The Kenney Fort was the first major settlement in Round Rock built by Dr. Kenney, his wife, and their two daughters.” And so, The Kenney Fort Pub was born. “We thought it was the perfect name for somewhere to welcome people in and embrace a bit of local history while enabling you to sample great British hospitality.”
A Brief History of the Kenney Fort as Told by Tim:
“The Kenney fort welcomed people in from the frontier, it housed people and kept them safe, its real claim to fame is when the Houstonites tried to steal archives from Austin and The Kenney Fort sounded the alarm and prevented that from happening. They housed the documents in The Kenney Fort so that they were protected. So, Austin remains the Capital of Texas, mainly due to The Kenney Fort.”
As you walk through the doors of Kenney Fort, your eyes will likely spot a painted mural of a newspaper on the wall paying homage to this history.
Farm To Table Fair, And The Best Fish & Chips In Texas
When you visit the pub, get ready to try some traditional British dishes. With so many traditional meals that you may enjoy in the UK, Tim paid careful thought to how he would craft The Kenney Fort menu. “We did a lot of research into trying to find exactly the right products to make sure that we were providing quality food of British origin.”
Whether you are feasting on Bangers & Mash, Yorkshire Pudding, or a Scotch Egg, Kenney Fort has a variety of traditional items to experience. Kenney Fort even serves Tikka Masala which is the national curry of Britain. And of course, you can’t forget about Fish & Chips. The Kenney Fort Pub is said to have the best in Texas thanks to the exclusive and extremely fresh cod used in the recipe. “We are the only restaurant in Texas specifically who has our cod. It is North Atlantic wild cod, frozen at sea and brought directly from Iceland to our food supplier. It is super fresh and you are not going to find it anywhere else. Nowhere else that is allowed to have it, it is specifically for us.”
photo credit: The Kenney Fort Pub
photo credit: The Kenney Fort Pub
You can’t get much fresher than frozen at sea cod, and fresh farm to table (or sea to table) ingredients and preparation is something that Tim and his team pride themselves in. “Our sausages are made to our recipe by a local meat purveyor, and everything we make is made in house. Our tartar sauce, ranch, blue cheese, curry sauce, tikka masala, everything is made fresh. We have no microwaves. It is 100% fresh to table.”
And if you thought Tim’s favorite dish was fish and chips, guess again. “Bizarrely, I love our burger. Not bizarrely, I like burgers, I like red meat. So we do a paddington burger which is obviously slightly British inspired. It’s got red onion marmalade, cheddar, in house made bacon, in a pretzel bun with skinny fries.”
Drink Options (It’s A Pub After All!)
A pub is not a pub without drink options, and with 31 craft beers, cocktails, and a wide whiskey selection, Kenney Fort has quite a few of them.
Pick out your favorite dish and discover your new favorite Texas beer, “We have 31 taps and they are occupied by local beer suppliers whether that’s IPA’s, Sours, etc. We try to support a lot of local breweries with all different styles, flavors, colors.” If you fancy a London brew, you can get a pint of Fuller’s or expand your palate with beers from around Europe like Estrella Damm from Barcelona, Stella Artois, and Guinness.
Not a beer drinker? No problem. Kenney Fort has other liquor options that have been specially curated by Tim for you to enjoy. “I am a big bourbon, kind of rye guy. You are going to see we have a massive selection of whiskey. From WhistlePig to Pappy Van Winkle, to limited release items from Angel’s Envy, we are well known for stocking a great whiskey selection. We also do have a great craft cocktail selection. Whether that’s an old fashioned, a Pimm’s Cup (the drink of Wimbledon), and then your good old gin and tonic with some cucumber.”
What You Can Expect At The Kenney Fort Pub
Just like the local pub the Joneses frequent in the UK where they have the comfort of being welcomed by friendly familiar faces, The Kenney Fort is eager to provide the same authentic experience.
Expect to receive a warm welcome from Tim whenever you stop by, and you may even see his kids helping bus a table or two. “We are a genuine and family owned and operated business. We have my children and my wife, you are going to see them a lot, you see me everyday. You can expect to receive quality food that’s all freshly made in house with superb drinks. And great people. We have very little staff turnover so you’re never going to be alone and you’re never going to not know someone working here.”
Pull up a seat for some fish & chips and a pint as you are passing through, or frequent The Kenney Fort Pub as much as you like and call yourself a local. Cheers!