Stoudt’s celebrates anniversary with benefit
By: ROCHELLE A. SHENK Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Celebrating the milestones in our lives is always fantastic, but when an anniversary celebration benefits the local community, that’s even better.
The owners and staff at Stoudt’s complex in Adamstown has a lot to celebrate this year — it’s the 50th anniversary of Stoudt’s Black Angus Restaurant & Pub, the 40th anniversary of the Black Angus Antiques Mall and the 25th anniversary of Stoudt’s Brewing Company.
An anniversary event will celebrate these milestones at 8 p.m. on May 11 at Stoudt’s Beer Garden, 2800 North Reading Road (Route 272), Adamstown. Tickets are $35 and include music by The Ryan Wickersham Band, food including cheese and bread from the Wonderful Good Market (operated by Liz Stoudt), some items from Black Angus chef Jim Carr and some specially crafted anniversary brews. Not only is it a night to celebrate Stoudt’s anniversary trifecta, but all of the proceeds will be donated to the Adamstown Area Library.
“The library is near and dear to me. I’ve been a supporter of the library for many years,” said Ed Stoudt, owner of the Stoudt’s complex. When he served on Adamstown Borough Council in the 1990s, he was instrumental in helping to relocate the library from a single room in the basement of the YMCA to its current location in the borough municipal building.
“How many other businesses celebrate 50 years in one location and under the same generation of ownership?” said Stoudt. “I was born at the right time — there wasn’t as much regulation. I worked hard. I made mistakes, but I learned from them. I started the Black Angus when I was 22 and had $528 in the bank.”
The 72-year old’s story begins in Sinking Spring in 1960. He recalls that he was out of the service and began working in his father’s restaurant. During his hours at the restaurant he met a number of people including some local bankers.
“They told me about this restaurant opportunity in Adamstown. It was more like a diner then, but I decided to give the restaurant a go,” Stoudt said.
When he purchased the restaurant it was more like a diner, and the first year he operated it as Stoudt’s Country Kitchen and served mostly Pennsylvania Dutch food. He decided to make it a steak house in 1963.
“I really struggled. I did as much as I could myself; I washed dishes, I cooked. I also lived in the basement. Those first years were really tough,” he said.
Stoudt appreciates the support he’s received from the local community over the years.
“That support really means a lot both now and in the early days,” he said.
The Black Angus was closed on Sundays due to the state’s Blue Laws affecting restaurant operations (this has since changed), so Stoudt operated a seasonal concession stand at Shupp’s Grove on Sundays. This opportunity not only sparked in interest in antiques that continues today and inspired the Victorian décor that can be seen today in the Black Angus Restaurant & Pub, but it fanned Stoudt’s desire to diversify.
The Black Angus Antiques Mall opened in 1972 with 90 dealers. The original building was a pole barn that burned along with part of the restaurant on Dec. 13, 1977. The restaurant was rebuilt and expanded, and the antiques mall was built as a larger masonry building in 1978 — at that time there were 200 dealers.
The antiques mall has had several additions and now boasts 70,000 square-feet indoors as well as several outdoor pavilions and is home to over 300 dealers.
In addition to an interest in antiques, Stoudt also became interested in his German heritage, which led to the addition of the Beer Garden in 1979 and the tradition of using that space for special events and festivals.
“I had been to Germany and liked the beer there, but it didn’t travel well, so we began thinking about brewing our own beer,” Stoudt explained.
He and his wife, Carol, added Stoudt’s Brewing Company to the complex in 1987. Initially producing 500 barrels of beer in its first year, the brewery now produces 11,000 barrels. It bottles four types of beer year-round and four seasonal flavors in addition to several specialty beers. Two new beers will debut to honor the brewery’s 25th anniversary.
Stoudt’s interest in bread making led to the creation of Eddie’s Breads. The interest in bread making was passed on to daughter, Liz, who has now added cheese making to her repertoire and has morphed Eddies’ Bread’s into The Wonderful Good Market.
“Our focus is always on using quality ingredients and buying whatever we can locally,” Stoudt stressed.
He’s not only proud of the success of the various Black Angus enterprises, but he’s also proud that his family is involved in them. Carol and two of their children — Liz and Eddie, who is sales manager at the brewery — are involved in the business. All five of the children are planning to attend the anniversary event in May.
Although Ed and the Stoudt family are celebrating these three milestones, he said that doesn’t mean that he’s retiring.
“I’m here every day except the two or three weeks when we take vacation. I love what I do. I enjoy being around people, so I don’t think I’ll ever retire,” he said.
He encourages the community to celebrate these three milestone anniversaries.
“The more people that attend, the more money that is raised for the library,” he said.
Tickets are being sold at Stoudt’s Black Angus Restaurant, 2800 N. Reading Road, and at the Adamstown Area Library, 3000 N. Reading Road.
For more information, contact Stoudt’s at 484-4386, extension 204, or visit stoudts.com.