Many in the Glade Valley area enjoy dining at The Village Tavern in Walkersville’s Walkers Village Center. The establishment provides a place “Where good friends gather to enjoy their favorite foods and beverages.” That has been their motto since opening thirty years ago. To celebrate their thirty years serving our area, GladeValley.net interviewed Liz Murray, the owner.
Mrs. Murray’s late husband, Dennis, and his parents, Bill and Arlene Murray, collaborated to realize Dennis’ dream of owning his own restaurant and bar. At the time, Mr. Murray managed Dunmoor’s Tavern in Bethesda, Maryland. His aunt moved to Walkersville and urged him to consider the small town with a new shopping center.
The Village Tavern opened its doors on February 23, 1987. Mrs. Murray says that they were immediately welcomed by the community. Of course, they endured the hardships of starting a business and the lean times that come with those early years. She credits Dennis’ great business sense with their success. “With so many young families moving into the area, he quickly realized our potential not just as a bar but as a family friendly restaurant,” she recalled.
Liz began working at The Village Tavern in September of that first year. Four years later, she and Dennis married and began their family. “Dennis worked days and I worked nights and with three kids, it wasn’t always easy. Somehow though, we made it work.”
The Walkersville community plays a crucial role in The Village Tavern’s success. Liz cites the supportive community, and notes that customers are like family. “They have rallied around us during the hard times and celebrated with us during the good. I honestly cannot think of a better place to live and work,” she said.
Not all of the past thirty years have been easy. Like all businesses, they faced unexepected challenges like power outages, equipment failures, plumbing backups, and floundering economies. The biggest hurdle came in 2003; Dennis passed away. Liz had to deal with the loss of her husband and her business’ manager. Liz had been a hostess and server, but Dennis managed the daily operations. With a wonderful support system of employees and customers stepping up to help her, Liz kept The Village Tavern afloat. “There’s a lot to know in this business, and I’ll admit I’m still learning,” she stated.
In running a successful business for three decades, Liz stressed the importance of quality, consistency, fair pricing and customer satisfaction, but giving back to the community is important, as well. She also emphasized the importance of taking care of employees; “Their hard work and dedication should never go unnoticed,” she remarked.
As a restaurant, “tastes change and prices fluctuate, but we never cut corners,” she said. The Village Tavern insists on high quality ingredients. They stay competitive by keeping prices fair. They adjust to changing trends by tweaking the menu just enough to stay fresh, but never eliminate the tried and true favorites.
Her favorite part of owning and operating The Village Tavern is the people. Liz shared that,
“Some have literally grown up before my eyes. It makes my day to see the son or daughter of a customer I waited on 30 years ago bring their own child to the Tavern for the first time. I am blessed beyond words Not only do I get to work with my kids every day, but I have the most amazing employees and live in the most wonderful community! The line between customer and friend is definitely blurred; we’re one big, happy family here!”
New customers always comment on the hometown atmosphere and liken The Village Tavern to “Cheers – where everybody knows your name.” They appreciate the freshness and quality of the food and the “service with a smile.”
GladeValley.net asked Liz Murray what somone should order if they’ve never been to The Village Tavern. “Our NY strip, filet mignon and jumbo lump crab cakes are among the best around. We make a mean Reuben, and our crab dip, taco salads and fresh cut Dune Fries can’t be beat. If you happen to visit on a Saturday night, be sure to try our famous prime rib special. It’s likely to sell out, so get there early. You won’t be disappointed!”
The Village Tavern’s original 1987 motto, “Where good friends gather to enjoy their favorite foods and beverages,” sums up The Village Tavern. The community loves its local tavern, and we all celebrate Liz and her family’s dedication to providing us with a great place to gather and enjoy wonderful food and drinks.