German, with chef/co-owner/wife, Claire Johnston [Photo: Zibby Wilder]
Eater National has a nice write-up on Jim German of the famous Jimgermanbar in Waitsburg, WA. German spent more than 20 years behind the bar at places like Il Bistro, Campagne and Place Pigalle before opening his own spot in the tiny Walla Walla adjacent town (population 1,217) in 2007.
German says the small-town Americana vibe of Waitsburg matched what he'd always wanted for his own bar: a hidden, organic feeling. "For me, some of the best experiences I've ever had in dining or imbibing were just being in locations, all over the world, that have always been a little — they haven't been the most precious," German says. "They've been the funky little spots, neighborhood little places that are meant for everybody to show up. And that was important to me, especially here."
Of his foray into bartending in the early 80s: "...it was just something that supported going to school. It was very convenient to my lifestyle, I guess. I'm also an artist, so that involves a lot of traveling, and it was a job that I could leave and come back [to]. It became a career later. I'm from Seattle, and mainly worked in the Pike Place Market when I was young. I worked at a ton of the classic places there, and that's really where the restaurant scene was in the '80s and early '90s."