Oh, how I miss the Bavarian Chalet

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

— From “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell

The other day, I was rooting around in a drawer and found a box of matches from the long-gone but not forgotten Bavarian Chalet, that beautiful German-themed restaurant and bar on Western Avenue in Guilderland. I hadn’t thought about that place in a long time, but seeing that box of matches brought back all the old memories. Boy, do I miss that place.

Think about it: We used to have a world-class German taproom and restaurant right in town. How great was that? The only thing comparable is the bar and restaurant at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, which is a five-star resort and destination in its own right.

Yes, we had a place much like that right here in Guilderland at one time (minus the sweeping mountains and the whole “Sound of Music” vibe, of course). Wow.

The bar at the Bavarian Chalet had rich, deep woods, with consummate craftsmanship and accouterments. They had all the German beers on tap, and served them in those tall glasses that are so nice. The bartenders always wore fancy black and white uniforms, truly elegant.

Same with the servers: It was a very high level of atmosphere and service. There was always a wedding or banquet there as well, but the thought that you could just meet friends at a classy place like that, right in the neighborhood, is truly mind-boggling to me now. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

I work with technology all day. Believe it or not, that’s not so bad. Where there is a problem, in general, if you look at the last thing you did, there’s a good chance you’ve found out what’s wrong.

So technology is fairly easy to deal with, in that it has rules, is predictable, and responds to clear, organized methods of work. It’s the people involved with technology that are harder to deal with.

People have good days and bad days, can be moody, sometimes spray you when they talk, get frustrated, etc. I’m sure you know what I mean. Even yours truly can be difficult to deal with at times I’m told, haha.

One day a long time ago, I had a really tough day at work. Everyone was being a jerk. It was miserable.

When I got home that day, I announced to my lovely wife, Charlotte, that I’d had a bad day, and because of that I wanted to go to the Bavarian Chalet to relax with a couple of beers. Many of you reading this know my lovely wife, but for those of you who don’t, be advised that she doesn’t need to take an assertiveness-training class.

“Hi, I had a really bad day at work, so I’m going over to the Bavarian Chalet for a couple of beers to take the edge off. I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”

“You aren’t going anywhere.”

“Um, I don’t think you understand. I had a really, really bad day at work. I need to relax for a while. I’m stressed out.”

“I understand perfectly. While you’ve been playing around with computers all day, I’ve been here cleaning, doing laundry, paying bills, vacuuming, answering the phone, and getting ready for dinner, all the while keeping two small children clean and entertained.”

“I know, but ….”

“There are no buts. You aren’t going anywhere. Instead, you will help with dinner, then you will give these kids baths and get them ready for bed while I give piano lessons to help pay the mortgage on this house.”

“But I had a bad day!”

“End of discussion. You aren’t going anywhere. Get used to it.”

In 35 years of marriage, that was the one and only time I had made that kind of request. Some guys would have just gone straight to the bar after work, but I’m not like that.

I really have always tried to do the right thing when it comes to my marriage and family. She was right, of course, but still. I could so badly have used a couple of those tall German beers on that awful day.

One time, my office booked the Bavarian Chalet for our annual summer picnic. There was a huge field outside where all kinds of animals could be seen.

That year, we had a pick-up two-hand touch football game. At one point, one of the ladies from my office was playing quarterback. She took the snap and then lateralled the ball to me.

Just in case you don’t know the rules: In football, if someone throws you a forward pass and you drop it, the play is over, but if someone laterals you the ball and you drop it, that’s a live ball, otherwise known as a fumble.

So with all my co-workers watching, the pressure was on big-time. Well, I grabbed that lateral, juked and jived a few guys, and then took off like a scalded cat and scored the touchdown. That really happened!

Just for that one sweet moment if nothing else, the Bavarian Chalet will always have a special place in my heart.

One of the best things about the Bavarian Chalet was the architecture of the building. It featured several graceful arches and an adobe style roof if I remember correctly. I don’t know about you, but I just love arches on buildings. That style is so elegant to me.

They also had a lot of windows looking onto their beautiful property; many long, decorated hallways that got you around efficiently; a large basement room for private parties; and of course that lovely u-shaped bar. The more I think about it, the more I miss all of it. Dang.

I’m not sure what actually happened to the Bavarian Chalet. I guess the land where it used to be is now a housing project and the Guilderland Senior Center. I’ve been in the senior center: It’s beautiful there, and the people who work there are awesome.

But, unless they start serving ice-cold German beer in tall, lovely glasses, it just isn’t the same.

The Bavarian Chalet was a true jewel, a neighborhood place that felt like a five-star resort. It is gone but it is most certainly not forgotten. Tschiirs!