Bavarian Inn

If you lived near Lake Ronkonkoma, there were a number of reasons you might find yourself at the Bavarian Inn in the 1970s. It hosted countless weddings, anniversaries, christenings, sweet 16s and other events throughout the decade, leaving many a Long Islander with fond memories that lasted a lifetime. It was also a darn good German restaurant.

The Bavarian Inn, located at 422 Smithtown Blvd., started as a beach resort and a hot dog stand along the northern shore of Lake Ronkonkoma in the 1930s called “Ronkonkoma Shores.” William Huber Sr. purchased the pavilion in 1939, offering a picturesque place where one could park their car, rent a rowboat, and make use his bathhouses, all for the reasonable fee of $1.50.

The property eventually morphed into a popular catering hall that offered authentic German Cuisine throughout the 40s. In 1955, the owner’s son, William B. Huber and his wife Elizabeth converted the property into the Bavarian Inn.

From the outside, The Bavarian Inn looked like a snow-topped mountain chalet, complete with German theming throughout the interior that included a salad bar built inside of an old Volkswagen.

The restaurant continued its tradition for fine German cuisine. This reputation helped the business grow into a full-fledged catering hall, with restaurant seating for 140 and catering for 3 times that amount.

In the decades that followed, it became the local go-to place for all sorts of events, weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, holiday dinners, sweet 16s, business functions, you name it.

The restaurant expanded twice over the years, in 1967 and 1972, evidence of its steady popularity. As a result, many a resident has a memory or two of sharing a special day or a fine meal at the Bavarian Inn.

William Huber passed away in 1986, but his family continued to run the operation for many years. The future proved difficult, not because of a drop in quality or a lack of popularity, but simply because of nature.

For many years, the restaurant waged a battle with the rising waters of Lake Ronkonkoma. Despite their best efforts to protect from flooding, the problems became so severe that they eventually took a toll on the electrical system and the structure itself.

The Bavarian Inn closed its doors in 2007, and then it sat as an eyesore for many years until it was mercifully demolished. A sad ending for a place that once shared so many celebrations within its walls, and also made a darn good Schnitzel.

Did you share any meals or memories at the Bavarian Inn? I would love to hear all of them in the comments section below.


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26 Responses

  1. Christopher Santoro says:

    Loved getting salad out of the bug. Good schnitzel. Would come with sachem german club all the time

  2. Paul Lockwood says:

    in 1968 my older sister had her wedding reception here. I remember the waiters being dressed very well, and that everyone seemed to have a great time.

  3. Dan S says:

    My wife and i had our wedding reception at the Bavarian Inn during 1986. It was a great party.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My dad was a musician and played there for many years on many occasions.

  5. Michael St. Aubrey says:

    I had my senior prom there in May 1979, representing The Knox School. Perfect night.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Moved to the area in early 1987 and are there quite a few times. Food was amazing and staff was wonderful! When I pass by now I think of it EVERY time!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Used to eat there. Had my daughter’s Sweet 16 there and grandson’s Baptism dinner. Sorry to see it go.

  8. Walter Krause says:

    I had my first job in 1971 washing dishes at the Bavarian Inn. I remember The Huber’s. The older “Willie” used to let me have a beer in the walk in refrigerator on particularly hard working Saturday nights. Great experiences!

  9. Anonymous says:

    got married there in 1980

  10. Brian L says:

    This was my parent’s favorite restaurant and the destination for so many special family celebrations. Despite the numerous meals and celebrations, the VW Bug Salad bar is the thing I remember the most.

  11. mike s says:

    >_< i remember watching it gradually become consumed– both in real life and on satellite imagery. there was also an access road that went underwater in the northwest corner of the lake, before much of that property was acquired by local governments and rebuilt up into a park

  12. walter a. eppler says:

    I knew the owners through the Steuben Society,they were good people. I hope if a park replaces the Inn they will call it Bavarian Park for all the memories The Bavarian Inn gave so many people. It’s sad it ended the way it did.

  13. Joe says:

    What was the restaurant on Sea Cliff avenue in the 60’s that became the Pied Piper

  14. Keoe says:

    Had my wedding reception here in 1971. They did such an amazing job. Excellent food & service. So sorry to see it’s gone.

  15. Mike says:

    I ate there many times in the 90s and swam a little northwest of there in the seventies (I don’t know if that was safe) We had my aunt’s repost there. I remember the food being delicious, prices and service were also excellent. I never knew about the great history of the restaurant. I enjoyed the article and the comments even more. Thank you, Mike B

  16. Nescompton Boy says:

    I smoked weed in the parking lot with my buddies, then we hit Little Vinny’s next door for a slice.

    We got busted once, but the cop mercifully threw the weed into the lake. I narrowly escaped a beating from the old man that night.

  17. Chris says:

    We used to park in the parking lot late at night close to the water and catch catfish.

  18. Thomas says:

    Hey there who ever is running this webpage, I think we should get in touch with eachother as there seams to be a old, but close relation between our families my mum was at the Bavarian inn in 1963, also serving icecream over the weekend; in 1972 she brought my dad and myself over to show us where she was during her one year stage with you guys… my mum is one of the Osswald family… remember? Or ask Willi, he should remember All the best from good old Bavaria! Thomas PS: please drop me an email to the address shown below; I will respond with my private mailing address; I just don’t want to have that one shown in public… Sorry…

  19. Thomas says:

    would love to get in touch with somebody operating this website as my relatives run that Bavarian Inn more many decades… and also my mum used to work there in 1962… and she took my dad and me over in 1972… and I’m looking forward to come over this summer (2022)… would be great to get some information… thxs

  20. Donna says:

    I worked there once as as a staffer and was appalled at their practices and black mold growing up the back hallway walls.
    It was so bad I felt I had to tell the Dept of Health.
    2 weeks later DOH called and told me the facility had 13 major violations. It wasn’t long after that they closed their doors.
    I gather the violations extended beyond the extensive black mold on walls
    Sad it couldn’t be taken care of.
    It once was a fabulous place

  21. Mike M says:

    I grew up in Ronkonkoma. I played CYO ST Joseph’s baseball and our awards dinners were here. From like 1992 to 1999. I always wanted to return there for dinner and/or a few beers as an adult but I never got the chance.

  22. Mike says:

    I worked there for a couple years as a cook, Great Chef, Bob Smith , 2 great head cooks , Chris and Joe, Lee Christian as well, I was friends w/ Tommy the Head Bartender, so many great people, we were all so young but terrific waiters, waitresses , kitchen staff tge team of cooks, my brother along with many many of his friends worked there as Busboys/waiters for years, it helped get me a job there. It was a great time in my life !

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