As I walked into the coffee shop at The Harvest Inn, Mrs. Fischer greeted me with a hug and a kiss and asked me, “How’s your Aunt Joy doing?” Her genuine warmth made me smile. I was happy to tell her that my Aunt Joy is doing just fine.
That familiarity is what sets The Harvest Inn apart from other restaurants in Eldersburg. They know, love, and appreciate their customers. Nobody asks me about my family when I’m buying a burger at a fast-food drive-thru.
Harry Fischer and his wife first opened The Harvest Inn on Liberty Road as a coffee shop in 1966. Forty-five years later, this favorite local eatery is still offering fabulous fare at a reasonable price.
Over the years, this successful and popular restaurant has gradually expanded, adding a first floor dining room in the early 1970s. Their second floor banquet hall and Cheers Lounge were added in 1985.
Long-time locals will confirm the claim made on the Harvest Inn’s website, “It is Eldersburg’s oldest Family Owned & Operated Restaurant.” Four generations of my family have enjoyed The Harvest Inn since its opening.
Harvest Inn frequent customers Walter and Frank enjoy the food in the coffee shop several times each week. According to Frank, “This is my favorite restaurant. The food and the people here are great.”
The original coffee shop portion of The Harvest Inn still features an old-time counter where patrons can enjoy their meals, as well as blue vinyl-lined booths arranged in the classic American diner style. The coffee shop is well maintained by the owners, who keep the area fresh and clean while still preserving its old-time charm.
In the basement of the original Harvest Inn was a traditional German rathskeller, which featured a billiards table. This room was a popular gathering spot for Eldersburg teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Tony Tronbetta, the Fischer’s son-in-law, is the current owner of The Harvest Inn. Along with his wife Carol (Fischer) Tronbetta, Tony carries on the proud tradition of offering exceptional food and service.
Tony first met his wife Carol at The Harvest Inn when he was working there as a dishwasher.
“I work seventy hours a week. I have not taken a vacation in seventeen years,” Tronbetta says, “And I still do a lot of the cooking here myself.”
Tony and Carol have been married for twenty-eight years. Their love for each other and for their restaurant carries on.
Tony was also proud to show me the brand new ceiling tiles and fresh coat of paint in the coffee shop section of the restaurant. “I just did this myself, along with my father-in-law. Harry (Fischer) is eighty-two years old, and he still helps out. He is a truly great man.”
One of The Harvest Inn’s signature dishes is the Sour Beef and Dumplings. The restaurant is also known for its wonderful breakfast fare (served all day), sandwiches, and burgers. The coffee shop, dining room, and the lounge each offer different menus.
The Cheers Lounge on the second floor has become the hub of Eldersburg’s dart enthusiasts, with multiple weekly dart leagues. The bar also has pool tables, popular with 9-ball players and Maryland lottery games including Keno, Mega Millions and Power Ball.
The Cheers Lounge also hosts live music. Happy Hour drink specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, along with their satellite television, have made the Cheers Lounge a popular Eldersburg watering hole.
The first floor dining room has a cozy, comfortable atmosphere punctuated by a fireplace and charming antique decorations on the walls. The dining room has provided Eldersburg with high-quality dishes in a family-friendly environment for forty years.
The Harvest Inn also boasts catering space for up to seventy-five people, and meeting space for up to one hundred people.
The employees at The Harvest Inn are as much an Eldersburg institution as the restaurant itself. Most of the customers are long-time regulars, and the wait staff treats them like family. New patrons are also welcomed with open arms, and are soon on a first-name basis with the friendly staff.
When Liberty Road was only two lanes wide and the town of Eldersburg was still a small, rural, close-knit town, The Harvest Inn was a pillar of the community. The restaurant has expanded its facilities and diversified its menu and services over the years, but it has never lost its original warmth and charm.
Tony Tronbetta says, “I try to support family-owned businesses. I would rather give my business to a person than a corporation.”
The Harvest Inn is a multi-generational restaurant, both for the owners and the patrons. If you are new to Eldersburg, you should make The Harvest Inn a tradition for your family.
While other restaurants open and close in the blink of an eye, The Harvest Inn continues to be successful. Its warmth will charm you, its service will please you, and its wonderful food will satisfy your hunger.