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Meet William Low of Rathskeller

Today we’d like to introduce you to William Low.

Hi William, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
After ten years in the restaurant industry, my wife had enough of me coming home at 3am every night. I was fortunate to have a certification in wine so I went to go work for a small boutique wine distributor. It was at this job that I had met John O’Connor, a local business owner with a grand vision to revitalize Main Street in Elkridge. He had this old 1880s era judge’s house that he gutted and rebuilt, along with the original jailhouse that currently sits on our biergarten patio.

He wanted to open a bar at the basement of this building, naming it the Rathskeller after the popular basement watering holes in Germany. My thoughts during conceptualization was that if the name was going to be German, we’d open as a German restaurant. “Let’s go all the way,” I said. After countless hours doing research, not only did I become a Germanophile, I was shocked at how hard it was to even get German food!

Thus, we opened in October 2019 and were chugging along when COVID19 hit us in March 2020, forcing us to close for two months as we had to re-think how we were to operate during the pandemic. Many of the dishes we had on our menu were not suitable for to-go and delivery. In June 2020, we re-launched the Rathskeller with a major focus on the popular German street food: schnitzel. Since the re-launch, we’ve added wursts made by local German meat market legend, Binkert’s (Rosedale, MD). Other partnerships include produce from Myrtle Woods Farm and a Black Forest Ice Cream Sandwich by Scoop & Paddle (Clarksville, MD).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I highly doubt any business ever works out according to plan. As a first-time business owner, I had to temper expectations and stay patient as I was managing my cash flow. I had to be careful with being on credit with vendors and got in a bit of trouble there as well. And of course, when we opened, we were so slow some nights that I was the cook, server, and dishwasher the whole night. So just managing to get people to our location wasn’t easy.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Rathskeller?
The Rathskeller is a German restaurant set in the basement of a restored 1880’s building on Main Street, Elkridge. We really specialize in two items: schnitzels and wursts. But we have a slew of sides and are proud of our vegetarian offerings as well. Some vegetarian items include eggplant schnitzel and our unique falafel. We also have a pretty intense bar program. Besides hand-crafted cocktails featuring German spirits, we also have small production, high-quality beer and wine.

Here, you won’t find lederhosen, dirndls, or oompa music. We proudly blast German hip hop, wear flat-brimmed caps, and brightly colored t-shirts with our trademark hashtag: #schnitzelgang. Sometimes, we get people a little off put by our modern approach but we like our refreshing and bright concept.

We are a little hard to find but we’re smacked right down the street from BWI airport, the Guinness brewery, and Patapsco State Park. Whether you’re flying in or out, enjoying the day drinking beer or hiking, you can come grab a quick bite and a cold one at the Rathskeller.

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