Our Story

The Red Pheasant began in 1977 with a vision by Bill Atwood Sr., a restaurateur who purchased the 200-year-old barn on historic Route 6A in Dennis that had housed The County Fair restaurant. Bill Sr., known to most people simply as “Chef,” saw that the old barn could be transformed to an elegant venue. Setting off the building’s exposed beams and wide wood floors with linens and candlelight, he launched the Red Pheasant Inn with a menu of French cuisine.

His son, Bill Atwood Jr., came to Cape Cod to help his dad get the restaurant started and fell in love with cooking. Working with his Swiss-trained father, Bill Jr. was soon coming up with his own techniques, and the menu began its transformation into the fusion of the classical dishes Bill Sr. loved with the emphasis on fresh, local ingredients that Bill Jr. brought to the kitchen.

Bill and Denise AtwoodAlthough Bill Jr. and his wife, Denise, hailed from the same town in northern New Jersey, and had known each other in high school, it took a visit to Cape Cod to bring them together. Soon Denise left her job in a New York City publishing (from whence she had been sending him every cookbook that crossed her desk to feed his creative passion) and joined him. The couple made their home in the Cape house attached to the restaurant, raising three daughters under the loving eyes of an extended family of waiters and waitresses, cooks and other staff—not to mention loyal restaurant patrons.

Stained glass doorThe Red Pheasant has been a labor of love for Bill and Denise. Carrying on and expanding Bill Sr.’s legacy, they run the restaurant as a team, with Bill as chef and manager and Denise hostess and dining room manager. With a green thumb inherited from her own father, Denise created the gardens that provide fresh herbs and flowers for the restaurant.

Foremost in their approach is fresh, local ingredients. The Red Pheasant incorporates produce from local farms, Cape Cod seafood and farm-raised, grass-fed beef in its menu. Everything is made in-house, and there are no shortcuts.

The Main Dining Room retains the charm of a 200-year-old barn, with a romantic ambience created by artisan-crafted lighting, original art and a fireplace that makes winter dining especially cozy. The gardenThe Garden Room, a converted porch, features a wall-length mural of flowers painted by the Atwoods’ artist daughter, and enjoys views of a garden blooming with daffodils, azaleas, rhododendron and flowering shrubs from spring through summer. A small Martini and Wine Bar added in 2004 makes an informal spot to meet friends.

The Red Pheasant makes any dinner a special occasion. Whether it’s appetizers in the lounge area, dinner in the Main Dining Room or the Garden Room, you’ll be treated to first-class service and food so good you’ll be talking about it for weeks—and planning your next visit. Come see why so many people think of the Red Pheasant as their own special place.

The Red Pheasant is a perfect venue for rehearsal dinners, business celebrations or family gatherings. Let us create a personal menu for your group. Call us for more information on seating capacity and menus.