(Photo courtesy Anne Arundel Fire Department and HometownAnnapolis.com)The Old Stein Inn, a beloved landmark in Mayo [Edgewater, near Annapolis], was badly damaged by a three-alarm fire Friday morning.Two passers-by called 911 shortly after 5:30 a.m. Friday, reporting smoke streaming from the restaurant at 1143 Central Ave., said Lt. Cliff Kooser, a county Fire Department spokesman.
Within four minutes, firefighters were on the scene and saw heavy smoke. Because the area does not have fire hydrants, firefighters ran two hoses about three-quarters of a mile down Mayo Ridge Road to draw water from Ramsay Lake on the South River.
Extra firefighters were brought in to man the hoses, and also to allow for frequent rotations because of the cold weather.
The fire went to three alarms - 40 pieces of equipment and 89 firefighters, including crews from Annapolis and the Naval Academy.
The fire was brought under control by 7 a.m., but dozens of firefighters remained on the scene through rush hour Friday morning. Traffic was getting by on Central Avenue one lane at a time.
Fire investigators were still determining the cause of the fire.
The fire likely caused at least $100,000 in damage to the building, which is about 100 years old.
The restaurant's owners live in another building on the property and were not injured, Kooser said.
The Old Stein Inn was opened in 1983 by Karl and Ursula Selinger from Germany.
According to Capital archives, the couple moved to the Washington area in the late 1950s, sharing a love authentic German cuisine and the dream of opening a restaurant. In the late '70s they were ready to buy the decades-old, 2,500-square-foot building on Central Avenue that was once one of the first southern Anne Arundel County gas stations, a general store and a residence.
By July 1983, they had gone to work turning it into Edgewater's own piece of the Rhineland. It eventually became known for its hefty beer selection and traditional German menu - including schnitzel, bratwurst and jagerschnitzel- a biergarten and German entertainment that often gets customers singing along to German beer-drinking songs.
Ten years ago, the restaurant made its national debut on "The Best Of …" a show on the Food Channel cable network that documents regional favorites.
The Selingers recently retired, and the tavern is now owned and operated by their son Michael and his wife Beth, according to the tavern's website.
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