CRAFTING ARTISTRY & CONNECTION
Where culinary excellence meets artistic expression, and every meal is a celebration of authenticity and connection. Situated at the heart of contemporary American cuisine, our restaurant is more than just a place to dine; it's an immersive journey of the senses and a testament to the power of genuine connections.
The legacy of Library Kitchen + Bar is deeply intertwined with the history of Sapphire Valley and its transformation into a vibrant community. It all began in the 1950s when Gene Howerdd Sr. recognized the potential of the area and set out to create a golf course community. Over the years, this vision evolved, leading to the establishment of Sapphire Valley Resort.
The restaurant itself, originally known as The Library Restaurant and Club, is housed in the oldest structure in Sapphire Valley, dating back to around 1864. It was an integral part of a working farm that supplied fresh produce and dairy products to the old Fairfield Inn. In 1992, it was transformed into a private dining club, and efforts were made to preserve its original architectural charm.
After a major renovation in 1999, the restaurant continued to be a cherished part of the community, serving as a hub for fine dining and warm gatherings. In 2010, it temporarily closed its doors, marking the end of an era.
However, the legacy of The Library did not end there. In 2016, Marvin Gralnick and Johannes Klapdohr recognized its historical significance and potential for revival. They embarked on an extensive restoration project and rebranded the restaurant as Library Kitchen + Bar.
WHO WE ARE
WE ARE ARTISTS AND CREATIVES
Our team is comprised of artists and creatives who infuse soul and style into every aspect of The Library Kitchen + Bar. You can taste their dedication in every dish we serve, experience their warmth in every interaction, and relish their attention to detail in every moment spent here. Chef Johannes continuously reinvents our seasonal menu to showcase the freshest flavors, ensuring each visit is a delightful discovery.
CHEF JOHANNES KLAPDOHR, CO-OWNER
Johannes Klapdohr, born into a family of four generations of hoteliers, restauranteurs, and chefs in Germany, developed a deep passion for the culinary arts early in life. Growing up in his family's hotel, he honed his skills in the kitchen and chose to pursue a career as a chef by starting an apprenticeship in 1982. His dedication to the craft led to numerous awards in culinary competitions, including recognition as the youngest finalist in the prestigious German "Rudolf Achenbach Preis."
After completing his culinary education, Johannes continued to refine his skills in renowned hotels and restaurants, working alongside some of the world's top chefs. Some of his most notable experiences included stints at the Relais & Chateau "Hotel Bareiss" in the Black Forest and the legendary "Restaurant Aubergine" in Munich, under the tutelage of Eckard Witzigmann.
In 2004, Johannes assumed the role of Executive Chef at “The Lodge at Sea Island,” a mobile five-star and AAA five-diamond hotel off the coast of Georgia. Under his leadership, The Lodge achieved recognition as the #1 small hotel in the US (including its fine dining establishment) and the #1 golf hotel in the world in 2007.
After over a decade of experience in a wide variety of casual and Michelin-star culinary settings, Johannes became the Executive Chef of the esteemed "Schloss Glienicke" in Berlin. In 1996, he ventured to the United States to assist Atlanta's restaurants during the Olympic Games. He quickly rose to the position of Chef de Cuisine at "Nikolai's Roof," which would soon be named one of the top 100 restaurants in the US and receive the Mobile four-star award in 2000.
From 2007 to 2009, Johannes served as the Executive Chef of the “Culinary Vegetable Institute” and Director of Product Development at “Chef's Garden, Inc.” in Ohio, a leading sustainable farm in the US. There, he collaborated with major corporations such as Morrison, Birds Eye, and McCormick to promote sustainability in their corporate profiles.
In 2009, Johannes reunited with Richard Delany, his former GM at “The Lodge at Sea Island,” to create the high-end resort “Old Edwards Inn” in Highlands, NC. In just seven years, Old Edwards Inn gained worldwide recognition, ranking #24 in the world by TripAdvisor and earning the title of Travel & Leisure’s #1 hotel in the US.
With 33 years of incredibly successful experience in the hospitality industry, Johannes Klapdohr partnered with Marvin and Helene Gralnick to establish “Library Kitchen and Bar” in Highlands, NC. His extensive catering expertise allows him to work closely with clients, crafting customized menus that delight all guests.
MARVIN & HELENE GRALNICK, CO-OWNERS + ARTISTS
If you have visited The Library Kitchen + Bar before, you've seen the incredible, thought-provoking, and vibrant art that decorates our walls courtesy of co-founder and world-renowned artist Marvin Gralnick. Marvin Gralnick's creative background hasn't always been restricted to just a paintbrush, however. 35 years ago, he and his equally creative wife, Helene, opened a store in Sanibel Island, Florida called Chico's. Fast forward 35 years later and the Chico’s conglomerate has become a household name, also acquiring well-known brands Black House White Market and Soma. The entrepreneurs retired from running their fashion empire in 2006 and purchased the original Library Restaurant in 2009, waiting for the perfect concept and opportunity to bring the historic Sapphire valley icon back to life. After meeting Chef Johannes Klapdohr and his keen eye for creativity through cuisine, they knew they had found the perfect chef to partner with. Renovations began on The Library in 2016, and the structure was completely refitted top to bottom under the careful creative eyes of the Gralnicks. Their touches are evident everywhere you look from the initial design to the colorful art installations that hang from floor to ceiling. Even today, it's not unusual to see Marvin walking through the front door with something new in hand to hang on the walls!
CHEF JOE HOUSTON, CHEF DE CUISINE
Chef Joe was born and raised in Lamoille County in northern Vermont. It wasn't until his late teens that he got into his first kitchen as a dishwasher. In Stowe, Vermont, he rose through the ranks from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook before his banquet chef handed him a culinary school application and a letter of recommendation.
After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in 2008, he traveled to California to work at “Erna's Elderberry House” and “Chateaux du Sureau”. This would mark his first experience working under the esteemed Relais & Chateaux banner.
In 2010, he earned the opportunity to study under Chef Colin Bedford at the prestigious “Fearrington House”, a 5-star Relais & Chateaux property in Chapel Hill, NC. There, he was a member of a team that achieved Relais Gourmand, one of the highest ranks achievable in the Relais & Chateaux community.
During his tenure at the “Fearrington House”, Chef Joe rose through the ranks from line cook to sous chef to catering chef before transitioning back to the sous chef role at their casual dining restaurant, “The Granery”. After five years in the Triangle, he was offered the sous chef position at a brand-new restaurant: “The Bowery” in Franklin, NC.
There, Chef Joe began to hear rumors that a restaurant in the Highlands area was under restoration and that Chef Johannes was looking for experienced culinarians to open The Library Kitchen + Bar. He joined our opening team in December 2016, and the rest is history!
LIZ KLAPDOHR, CO-OWNER + RESTAURANT GENERAL MANAGER
Liz Klapdohr possesses a remarkable talent for making people feel genuinely welcome, a trait that leaves an indelible impression on everyone she meets. With over two decades of invaluable experience in the hospitality industry, Liz Klapdohr brings her expertise and warm hospitality to The Library Kitchen + Bar. Alongside her husband, Chef Johannes Klapdohr, she works tirelessly to ensure the smooth operation of the restaurant while infusing each moment with a sense of joy and passion. Their dedication shines through in every aspect of their work, making Library Kitchen + Bar an exceptional and welcoming dining destination.