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RAMW Member Spotlight - Stefan Trummer

November 12, 2015

Stefan Trummer

Growing up literally above the family restaurant downstairs, Trummer’s depth of knowledge about the restaurant business goes beyond skin-deep. With a strong passion for experiencing the world and a family history in the restaurant business dating back over 100 years, Trummer left his hometown of Austria to travel throughout Europe, Bermuda and ended up in New York City. It was there that he made a name for himself as one of the first “bar chefs” creating cocktails with house made juices, syrups and elixirs. In late 2008, Stefan and Victoria Trummer bid their goodbye to New York to head south to their new home. They acquired the building formerly known as The Hermitage Inn. At Trummer’s on Main, Trummer combines his New York City experience with the charm of historic Clifton by stimulating guest’s senses with excellent food, always-intriguing unique cocktails and true European hospitality.


What is the hardest part about owning and opening a restaurant?
Finding the right people to bring your vision to life. You need passionate energetic people with the same sense of hospitality to truly create a memorable experience. We love our current staff but it took years to really create the team we wanted!


…and the most rewarding part?
Satisfied guests! We love to impress and create remarkable experiences!


Where do you look for inspiration when putting your menu together?
The kitchen! My cocktail menu is inspired by the ingredients that go into our menu. We truly let the seasons dictate our menu and I do the same for the cocktails. I also try to incorporate flavors and memories of home. We use elderflower essence and other flavors that I grew up with back in Austria.

How is your restaurant influenced by the neighborhood it is located in?
Virginia wine, food and agriculture. Not to mention the history. It’s fun to create drinks or experiences that hint on the history of our building and town but have a fun modern twist.

How did you get started in the business? What was your first job in the industry and what did you learn from it?
I grew up literally above our family restaurant (now 3rd generation). My pack and play was in the kitchen and as I grew up I helped out. The locals have stories of me reaching on the tables to look for the Käferbohnen (Runner Beans), one of my favorite snacks that topped our house salad. I couldn’t see above the tables but they’d see a little hand searching their plate for these big delicious beans!


Where do you see yourself in five years?
We hope to expand our Trummer’s Coffee & Wine Bar concept and possibly begin exploring other concepts. We don’t want to grow too fast where we lose our focus and connection to the community – but we have ideas on ways to bring new concepts to the DC Metro Area.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Worry about the things you can control and not the things you can’t! There will be obstacles and challenges along the way – and some will be completely out of your control. Focus on what you can change or improve on and don’t let the other things bring you down.


What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Distiller! I would love to make my own liquors with the cocktail end product in mind. I would still get to be creative and involved but from a different angle.


What song always makes you happy?
“Happy” by Pharrell. My 4.5 year old son loves it and it makes us both sing and smile!


What’s your favorite local spot?
Skyline Drive. We take the kids hiking and it feels like we are on vacation. It’s the best way to truly unwind and disconnect from the business once in a while.


What is your favorite ingredient?
Elderflower which is a staple in Austria. We have a few cocktails with elderflower and it adds such effervescence.


You’re hosting a dream dinner party.  What three people would be at your table?
Arnold Schwarzenegger (he’s from my home town in Austria and I’ve always wanted to meet him), Roger Verge (the founder of true French Fine Dining Cuisine)

Bono (he’s talented and uses his fame for so much good)


It’s the last meal of your life  - what’s on your plate?
My mom’s fried chicken “Backhendl”. It’s the best thing you’ll ever eat in your life, seriously. People drive 2 hours to my family’s restaurant just for her chicken!


What are your pet peeves?
Empty drinks on tables – either get them a refill/new drink asap or remove the glass!


What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

We host charity events regularly here but my favorite is donating food the our local SERVE campus. We try to do something healthy but delicious (Brussels Sprouts with bacon and cranberries were donated for Thanksgiving) and it brings me so much joy knowing the food is going to locals in need.


What’s your favorite go-to junk food?

Pizza. I am doing pretty good eating healthy but pizza is my weakness.