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Record company hotshot opens Stoney’s British pub

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Mike Stone opened Stoney's on Concord Pike 15 years ago, serving classic British fare.

Mike Stone opened Stoney’s on Concord Pike 15 years ago, serving classic British fare.

By Kathy Canavan

Farewell, rock ‘n’ roll – hello, fish ‘n’ chips. Mike Stone promoted the biggest names in marketing when he was with EMI and Virgin Records and Warner Brothers.

The Rolling Stones: (“Mick wouldn’t give you the time of day unless you were a good-looking model. Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were just real gentlemen.”)

Fleetwood Mac: (“I worked with them when they were on the way up, so they were always kind.”)

The Doobie Brothers: (“I used to travel with them on their private airplane. Two of them would go and do radio interviews, and two of them would go to the local children’s hospital and be with the kids, and one of them would go to the hotel and do press.”)

Tina Turner: (“What a wonderful girl. She was just fabulous. You couldn’t ask to be with a nicer person.”)

Lenny Kravitz: (“Salt of the earth. Very quiet.”)

Van Halen (“My favorite party band. If you ever wanted to go out and have a good time, you’d go with Van Halen.”)

After working with record labels through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Stone left Virgin and New York to be caregiver for his dying sister in Glassboro, N.J., and then his father in West Chester, Pa.

After their deaths, he found he needed to find a second act for himself.

“One of the things you always think about in the music business is, “˜I wonder what I’ll do afterwards.’ We’d always talk about opening a pub or a bed-and-breakfast.”

His dad had owned part of The Flavor of Britain, a teashop on Concord Pike, so Stone knew the area.  So in 2000, Stoney’s at 3007 Concord Pike was born.

The menu: All the food he missed since he moved to the United States as a teenager in 1967.

The recipes: His mum’s.

“I wanted to eat the food that I liked,” he said. “Traveling all over America I never found anyone who made decent fish ‘n’ chips or Yorkshire pudding or steak-and-kidney pie.”

He didn’t let his marketing skills lie fallow at the pub. When Will and Kate married at Westminster Abbey, he rolled out a royal wedding celebration that drew a full house to Stoney’s at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The very British wedding breakfast included a classic royal wedding cake ““ a fruit cake covered in fondant and surrounded by marzipan.

The place was packed with ladies wearing hats and pearls and gloves,” Stone said.

Of course, there was a tea party to celebrate Prince George’s royal christening. Everyone brought a baby gift for the babies at A.I. du Pont Hospital for Children. “It was great,” Stone said.

Stoney’s Labor Day weekend special, in its fifth year, is a free meal for anyone who’s pregnant.

“I got the idea because I’m an Englishman and kind of cheap,” Stone said, laughing. “At first I thought I’ll offer a free drink to every woman who comes in who’s pregnant and no one will take it. But people said, “˜Oh, you’re crazy.’  So I thought, “˜O.K. Free food.'”

“I’ll do it all weekend,” he said. “And we do get a fair number of pregnant women.”

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