For more years than I can count, I have had such an interest in the preservation of old architecture and historic buildings, and even structures in small towns that deserve to live on through the years. Unfortunately, I have seen too many buildings razed rather than preserved - sometimes for fiscal and feasibility reasons, and sometimes not.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
For more years than I can count, I have had such an interest in the preservation of old architecture and historic buildings, and even structures in small towns that deserve to live on through the years. Unfortunately, I have seen too many buildings razed rather than preserved - sometimes for fiscal and feasibility reasons, and sometimes not.
There is a grand structure on Main Street that serves as a landmark in the beautiful windy city of Frostburg, Maryland - an anchor, one could say, standing proud to offer respite from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Gunter Hotel, located at 11 West Main St., was built in 1897 and has been serving the community for 120 years. In recent years under the ownership of the Failinger family, the hotel and restaurant and ballroom remained a viable entity amidst the neighboring businesses along the main thoroughfare in town.
The James Dinteman family discovered that this landmark was for sale, and after very, very careful consideration, Mr. Dinteman and family decided that this would be the perfect place to invest in the community and build on the history of this beautiful showcase of history. Once again it would continue to be a place where neighbors could come and have lunch together, enjoy a nice family dinner or reserve the ballroom and the private restaurant for just those very special occasions.
I had the pleasure of meeting executive chef Tylor Dinteman, and I learned so much about how he came to be the chef in this wonderfully-restored restaurant called The Gin Mill, which is located next to the hotel.
Tylor has a long history of passion for all things regarding food, cooking and kitchen. Born in Kentucky and then as a toddler moving to and growing up in Palm Beach, Florida, it is worth mentioning that his parents were from the Westernport and Keyser areas. Tylor and his family would come back to this area, where Tylor graduated from Bishop Walsh High School in Cumberland.
After graduation, Tylor moved back to Florida, but soon found that he missed the changing seasons in this area. He moved back and began looking for a job. He found out that Rocky Gap was looking for some employees, so he applied for a front desk or kitchen position. Tylor was hopeful, as he was aware of the high turnover in the restaurant business and that restaurants are always looking for employees. As it turned out, he was hired in the kitchen at Rocky Gap to work with a fellow graduate of Bishop Walsh, who was the sous chef there.
Frankly, when Tyler started at Rocky Gap, it was just a job - a job so he could maintain the style of living that kept him happy. But, after about a year, his mindset changed, and his eyes were really opened to the food service industry and his passion ignited and blossomed.
He spent about five years at Rocky Gap - learning the ins-and-outs of everything that was involved in being a chef. After cultivating his kitchen and leadership skills, Tylor made a life-changing decision to attend culinary school. He had three choices laid in front of him. He thought very carefully of where he wanted to go and what his goals were long-term.
Tylor chose to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh. The application process was a little complicated and quite challenging, but he was accepted into the culinary school. He basically chose that school as his first choice. He found that the school offered good foods that used simple flavors to blend ingredients together to produce and present quality food of which he could be proud.
Tylor also really like the campus, and found that he could complete school by finishing 76 credits in a calendar year, Monday through Friday, and have one solid week off for vacation. Intense yes, I would say so! But, in talking with Tylor, I discovered that he's not one to really sit down and settle into a nine-to-five job.
Not only did he pursue his education at Le Cordon Bleu with the 76 credits, he also worked a full-time job while going to school. He was employed by the Grand Concourse for his externship, and Tylor admitted to me in having a love-hate relationship with Grand Concourse - as it was very rigid and structured. Chefs had absolutely no options for creativity, the menus were set, the ingredients were specific, and even executive chefs were never allowed to vary from the specified recipes. Everything was prepared the same every day, based on the company's directions. Tylor learned much there, but after graduation he had options presented to him - again, having to do his research and make a decision.
Tylor was presented with an opportunity to go to the famous Greenbrier Resort in southern West Virginia - a place where many chefs would die to go to and be in charge of the kitchen. However, in his research, he found that changes were in the works for Greenbrier that just determined that was not where Tylor wanted to be at that time in his life. "My friends thought I was crazy for not taking that job!" said Dinteman.
He also had an opportunity to head back to Florida and be part of the Four Seasons Corporation. Their restaurant in Florida was a Five-Star Five Diamond resort - quite an opportunity I would say!
But, Tyler decided to go to the Mio Wine Bar, which was at the time a new restaurant in Pittsburgh - a very high-end bar where he thought he would like the challenge of fine dining - a place where a chef had to be perfect at everything, and one where he would have the chance to execute his skills with finesse and perfection.
As with many chefs who work hard and build fine reputations with their work, Tylor found himself in demand elsewhere, and decided to move back to the Cumberland area. He was now working as a chef back at Rocky Gap, and he would have a chance to learn more management skills.
Skills such as how to manage a team, how to oversee a group of kitchen employees servers, etc., and also learn some banquet skills and build the a la carte business at Rocky Gap. There would be chances for creativity and supervision and leadership, and in no time, Tylor soon found himself attending meetings, scheduling, ordering - sometimes putting together five banquets a day!  Soon, he would also be attending meetings with Rocky Gap's general manager and department heads - meetings where all of the directors from all other areas would meet and talk about how to improve the customer experience.
He spent almost five years learning, watching and mentoring others. He was grateful for the opportunity to learn from management - executing his fine skills and refining things. Even still, he really did not have a dream of owning his own business at this point.
Then again, Tylor's reputation preceded him, and he soon found that Savage River Lodge in Frostburg was looking for a an executive chef who could take charge of the kitchen, look over the menu and capture more local business. Tylor had full reign and full supervision of the kitchen, and relished this chance where he could spend the next four and a half years rewriting menus, reformatting everything, controlling the pricing - having sole creativity to demonstrate his passion. However, the hours were long, and he would work weeks before having a day off. He took his work very seriously.
While he was working at Savage River, Potomac State College of WVU was already approaching Tylor to come and serve as the chef in their Culinary and Hospitality program. Tylor continued to work at Savage River Lodge, but was considering the possibilities at PSC. There were some changes in his life that mandated he work less hours 120 hours a week. Imagine that!
For example, before I retired, there were times in my life when I would work 60 to 70 hours a week. Not every week, but there were certain times of the year that were busier than others. 70-hour work weeks while trying to raise a family - challenging at best! 120 hours a week? No. Just no.
After four and a half years or so, Tylor decided to accept the position that PSC was offering. The chef at the time who was the instructor at PSC had passed away unexpectedly, so Tylor came in as an instructor in the middle of the program. He was hired as a consultant there initially, and one of his main tasks was evaluating whether or not to continue the Culinary Hospitality program.
Tylor studied, researched, evaluated and threw some numbers together. In time, he reduced costs and reduced his budget by 70 percent. Isn't that phenomenal?
He taught core classes for hospitality - which included a hands-on lab, sanitation, menu planning, cost control, etc. It was a much slower pace than he was accustomed to, and now he was working for the public sector - where there was accountability through many different departments and channels.
The assistant dean and WVU in Morgantown were very supportive of the program, but, after a year-and-a-half, PSC decided to cut the program. I wanted to mention, however, that while he was working for Potomac State, he was also helping out at Savage River Lodge and managing their restaurant. Do you see a pattern here?? Tylor Dinteman is not afraid to work, not afraid to refine his skills, not afraid to learn everything he can.
In 2013, Tylor remarried, and his father was already thinking about buying this property. Tylor and his wife Kim Rowley just laughed it off, and that's really all that was discussed at that time.
Then about a year later in early 2015, Tylor's dad again brought up buying the property because banquet space was so needed in the area. It now seems that the Dintemans were quite serious about buying Hotel Gunter.
Tylor toured the property and was very impressed that, although the space had been more or less vacant for some time, the previous owners had maintained the cleanliness of the property. Tylor quickly saw the potential in this building and immediately began working on his business plan.
There was much to plan, as you can imagine. A building that is 120 years old and the massive, tremendous upkeep and renovations that would have to be done were staggering. His wife Kim had the vision for The Gin Mill, which she and the Dintemans based on the history of the hotel.
"The Gin Mill is reminiscent of the martini bars and eateries of the 1940's. The Gin Mill offers classic cocktails and upscale pub fare with a slightly modern spin.  The menu offers house-made meats, artisan cheeses and unique dishes made with fresh ingredients. While you're dining, enjoy one of our signature cocktails and check out the caricatures of 'local celebrities' that adorn the walls," adds Dinteman.
Tylor has now found his home here in Frostburg, although he lives in Cumberland. He spends most of his time at this grand old place. There are over 30 people employed at Gunter and The Gin Mill, and over 65 percent are full-time. There are eight people who are in the kitchen - preparing the made-from-scratch Tyler Dinteman recipes.
I can speak firsthand about the quality and the presentation of the food there. Recently some friends and I had dinner there on a Thursday evening when musician Jason McDonald was entertaining in the restaurant, and I had hesitantly ordered a steak. I say hesitantly because it is rare that I will order a steak when I eat out at a restaurant because the steaks are never to my satisfaction. Either they are cooked too long, or the chef/cook did not use any seasoning, or the chef used way too much seasoning, or the steak is too tough. When it comes to a steak, I expect it to be perfect - exactly the way I like it.
Well, at The Gin Mill last week, my steak was the best steak I have ever had at a restaurant. Very comparable to what I would prepare at home for myself. I ordered it medium rare and it was presented on a platter with fresh string green beans. I did not add any salt and pepper, which most times at a restaurant, one would have to. I cut into the steak and it was like butter. It was perfectly prepared, perfectly seasoned, perfectly presented  -and prepared by executive chef Tylor Dinteman himself.
He pays personal attention to everything that leaves his kitchen. The homemade pastrami - can you imagine making your own pastrami, putting together a delicious Reuben that you have never tasted anywhere else this delightfully? The homemade potato salad, the drink menu - what a charming selection of creative wines and cocktails.
Tylor found his calling, and learned along the way through many torturous hours - how to run his own business effectively, happily, and with such passion.
What makes Tyler happy at The Gin Mill? I asked him that question, and he did not hesitate in the least. He told me that here, he has the freedom to experiment. He can see what works and what doesn't, and as a new business, there are a lot of question marks. He has to run a business with nothing to compare to, no data to pull from - to get a good forecast. He learns to adapt to what may or may not be successful.
The challenge of being a brand new business is one where he has to continuously learn and build for the future. Tylor finds that being an owner and providing for his staff is so rewarding, and he understands the needs of his employees -  as for many of them, this is their only source of income.
"Frostburg has been behind us from day one. The support from the other restaurants in the area has been much appreciated. The building has been here forever it seems, and is a staple of Main Street. I'd like to see it get back to being an anchor here in Frostburg. There are a lot of people excited about it, and we stay very involved in FrostburgFirst, the Chamber of Commerce, and work with Frostburg State University to hold independent events here and use our Ballroom. We at Gunter Hotel support all of the annual Frostburg events that the Soroptimist group has, the Storybook Holiday, Derby Day and many others. We all help each other, we all support each other," sums up Dinteman.
So what's coming up with Gunter Hotel and The Gin Mill? So many renovations have been completed, such as the back restaurant - which is nearly finished. It will be called the "Dining Room at Gunter Hotel," and it will be for special occasions. It is more upscale, and the hours are just Thursday through Saturday for dinner only. The menu will be higher-end, and reservations are required. Watch for the opening soon!
Renovations have included a total redo of The Gin Mill, which was formerly the Gladstone Restaurant; two dining rooms were renovated and the ballroom has been completed. Just last week, they hosted the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce After Hours event, and had over 120 business people there.
Now that the ballroom is completed, they are taking reservations for holiday parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, and other special events. They have a capacity for 120 persons.
Many people who have visited the Gunter Hotel over the last 20 years or so may remember the beautiful staircase in the main lobby of the hotel. The Dintemans have fully restored the staircase and the lobby, as well as the restrooms.
Renovations continue each week, as they are always busy with something...always busy with restorations, repairs and renovations. There are many rooms upstairs that need renovation, so that is an ongoing process. Visitors are welcome anytime, and there is someone at the front desk in the lobby who can direct visitors to the ballroom, or to any of the open areas so that you can see the beautiful work that has been done to this hotel and to The Gin Mill.
The Gunter Hotel will also be continuing to renovate the rooms upstairs, spruce up the rooms with amenities with a Victorian feel for the rooms, and do more upgrades. The most exciting thing that's going to be happening in the next few weeks is the awning that will be going on the front of the building. The design for the logo on the awning and on all printed materials was done by Kim, and Kenney Signs is producing the awning.
The plans are to power wash the entire front of Gunter Hotel and The Gin Mill and install the awning - which will offer a lovely classy, simple addition to the beautiful Main Street of Frostburg.
How would I describe Gunter Hotel and The Gin Mill. I say classy ambience, casual, inviting, and a treasure. So important to acknowledge that there are people like the Failingers and now the Dinteman family who care enough to restore what is old, rather than to tear it down regardless of the cost.
The Gin Mill is a nice meeting space, with good food...a place where adults can be together, converse, enjoy a brief getaway from meetings and work, and long hours and carpooling...and all of the things that pull us in all directions.
At the helm of it all - putting his passion and his skill into a kitchen where nothing but quality comes out onto your table. That is Tylor Dinteman - chef extraordinaire, also known as Executive Chef.
For more information about The Gin Mill or any of the offerings at Gunter Hotel, email Tylor at tylordinteman@gunterhotel.net. Or, call (301) 689-6511.