general manager of the Bavarian Inn
in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — The Bavarian Inn, founded in 1977 by Erwin and Carol Asam, is celebrating 40 years of business in Shepherdstown this year. Christian Asam and his brother, David Asam, took over day-to-day operations of the inn in 2005 and say they are proud to carry on the family tradition.
The inn, which started as a 25-seat dining room with three employees, now boasts 100 employees, 300 seats of dining, banquet space and 72 hotel rooms. The Asam brothers recently finished construction of Infinity 101 Pool and Bar, a state-of-the-art infinity pool dangling on a cliff overlooking the Potomac River.
The brothers have other plans to keep the inn relevant and to interest the next generation of visitors to historic Shepherdstown. The goal is transitioning from marketing the property as a country inn to a European-inspired boutique resort destination property.
Christian Asam took some time to answer questions for Coffee Break.
On a break, is it coffee, tea, soda, water … ?
Usually soda water with lemon. Every once in a while a jolt of caffeine is necessary, but I prefer to recharge by getting outside for an hour or so in the afternoon between working meal periods.
An average day for you at the inn includes…?
About a 10 a.m. start. Each day is different, which I love. It is not a desk job. The guests/groups/events of the day dictate what my day will be like. We are very hands-on as owners/managers. You will often find us in the dining room opening wine, talking to guests and so on. I usually get a two-hour (or so) break in the afternoon and get home around 9 p.m., just in time for our late family dinners.
How does the inn fit into the larger tourism picture of the region?
Tourism is the No. 1 industry in Jefferson County, and Jefferson County leads all of West Virginia in tourist spending. So it is big business in Shepherdstown, Charles Town and Harpers Ferry. We are proud to welcome thousands of guests each year from the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and much farther away. Most recently, guests have been visiting the area due to the recreational opportunities as well as the abundant history. We are lucky to be located in an area full of tourism draws.
How have your previous experiences prepared you for your current job?
I graduated from James Madison University in 1996 with a degree in hotel restaurant management. I then went to work in Vail, Colo., as a conference services manager, then restaurant general manager. After a year in Philadelphia as an assistant food and beverage director at the St. Regis Hotel, I returned to Shepherdstown. However, I think I learned the most at an early age, growing up around the inn and witnessing the day-to-day operations as a child. Mom and Dad were great teachers, motivators and are great examples to David and I of how hard work breeds success.
Outside of work, what are your ambitions and aspirations?
I have two girls, ages 13 and 10. Any time I get to spend with them and my wife Kerry is my most treasured time. My hobbies include travel and, of course, food and wine. I am also involved with several rewarding boards and organizations where I can try to give back to the community. We are proud to be part of the Shepherdstown community. It is a great place to live and raise a family.
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