Open House coming March 11 –
Story and photo by Patricia Beech –
Country-style cooking will be on the menu when the Olde Wayside Inn in West Union comes under new management next week.
Teresa Witten, a colorful and cordial restaurateur and purveyor of southern hospitality, will assume management of the 213-year-old Bed & Breakfast this month.
Witten, a graduate of the Maysville Culinary College with 33 years of experience in the restaurant business, says running a Bed & Breakfast is the fulfillment of a life-long goal.
“I’m a very outgoing person, and it has always been my dream to run a Bed & Breakfast,” she says. “I fell in love with this building the day I walked in.”
While March 15 is the official opening day for the restaurant, Witten said it will be a year before she is prepared to open the second floor rooms for overnight visitors.
Even though she is trained in a wide range of cuisines, Witten plans on serving only country-style meals to her customers.
“Cooking is my passion, but I am country – all the way country,” she says. “I make the best biscuits and gravy you’ll ever taste.”
Witten calls herself a “cook from a long line of cooks” and proudly shares savory memories from her childhood, “Everyone in my family cooks, and I have recipes from all of them, she say, “My grandpa made the best cornbread you ever put in your mouth, and, my grandma on my mom’s side made the best lemon meringue pie you ever ate.” Witten plans on using her family’s “tried-and-true” recipes as part of her regular menu offerings.
She says her father, Jack, who lost his battle with cancer, had the greatest influence on her decision to become a certified Chef.
“My dad loved to cook, and he always wanted to be a chef, so when I began culinary school I didn’t go just for me, I went for both of us, and when I graduated it was for both of us.”
Witten’s culinary professor, Patrick Zemba, heaps high praises on his former student’s cooking skills. “She is a natural cook who understands the techniques of putting ingredients together,” Zemba said. “She doesn’t need recipes, only ingredients. I feel confident I can give her a list of ingredients, and without telling her what they’re for, she’ll be able to deduce what it is I want her to make – that takes skill and experience. Not everyone can do that.”
Witten has used her considerable skills in three successful Kentucky restaurants and a winery, but says the challenge of building a thriving business in the historical inn represents a labor of love.
“I just hope everyone will give me a chance,” she says. “I want them to come out and enjoy my food, because I’m here to stay.”
A “Meet and Greet” will be held at the Bed & Breakfast on Saturday, March 11 beginning at 2 p.m. The official opening date is March 15.
The restaurant will be open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m.- 8 p.m., and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday’s for a Brunch Buffet.
“The Olde Wayside Inn has been an Adams County landmark for more than two centuries. Erected in 1804 on the northeast corner of Main and Cherry Streets, the building was originally called The Bradford Tavern – the first hotel in West Union. Built by General David Bradford, the hotel became a famous resting place for travelers on Zane’s Trace, the original route from Limestone, (now Maysville) Kentucky to Wheeling, West Va. During the early years of the tavern several notable men stopped here on their travel to Washington DC from the western territories including: Andrew Jackson in 1829 as he traveled to his inauguration; Mexican General Santa Anna in 1836 after his defeat by Sam Houston; Statesmen Henry Clay and Thomas H. Benton. In 1850 the hotel became known as The Marlatt House after owner Fields Marlatt. He leased the inn to John Crawford in 1860 and it was called the Crawford House for the next 25 years. During the early 1900’s many small businesses occupied the structure. Then, in 1963 the old hotel opened its doors once again as The Olde Wayside Inn when Fields Marlatt’s great-great-grandson William Lafferty and his wife Grace restored and renovated the building. Leaving the original framework and mantels, Mr. and Mrs. Lafferty installed modern facilities yet kept the historic atmosphere of the inn by furnishing it with family antiques.”
Witten says she plans to continue the tradition begun over 200 years ago – serving delicious, home-cooked meals and providing excellent service to her customers.