Couple Buy, Reopen 191-Year-Old Hotel As Bar, Restaurant
The last time there was a big opening at the Bowers Hotel was 1820.
But in 2008, longevity proved no match for the economy, and the building fell into foreclosure.
"It was closed for three years," explained Bonnie Tremmel, who, along with her husband, Rich, purchased the hotel in Maxatawny Township, Berks County. They will reopen the doors Saturday.
The three-year hiatus may seem short in the hotel's 191 year history, but when the Bowers Hotel closed, it took other businesses with it, like Danielle Becker's shop right across the street.
"We kind of held on for about a year, and then we had to go," said Becker, who owns Bowers Art & Glass.
With the arrival of the Tremmels came a restored hope in the village of Bowers.
"We feel really confident opening this establishment," said Rich Tremmel.
"It's been a dream that we would do something together," Bonnie said, smiling at her husband. "And we always wanted to do a bar/restaurant together."
As soon as you're seated in one of the Bowers Hotel dining rooms, you'll get a taste of what Rich and Bonnie hope will set their restaurant apart. Every wine on the wine list is from local wineries, and that's just the beginning.
"It's just like an amusement park for chefs around here," said executive chef Philip A'Brunzo, who added that the majority of his menu comes from farms within a 10-mile radius.
"Which makes it pretty easy if I run out of something," A'Brunzo laughed.
Buying local meat and produce also makes for one of the hottest restaurant trends of the day, but A'Brunzo calls it the oldest chef trick in the book.
"Before railroads and transportation, if you couldn't get it out in the backyard or from farmer Brown's field down the road, you couldn't have it," A'Brunzo said.
Produce isn't the only thing growing around the Bowers Hotel.
Across the street, Danielle Becker will reopen her shop Saturday, and she is banking on her neighbors at the Bowers Hotel.
"I feel very positive about the future," Becker said.
Instead of watching Wall Street, in the village of Bowers, neighbors are giving each other signs of an economic recovery.
"[Becker] said I need to fly so she can fly and I said well, let's fly together," Bonnie said.
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