Chef John Loeffler

Head Chef – Owner at the Inn at Gristmill Square

Chef John brings locally sourced dining to the small area of Bath County, VA

Chef John Loeffler headshot

The theme, “Taste of Freedom”, drew me in immediately. Independence Day weekend is always one of my favorite celebrations, but this year it has special meaning. Having the “Taste of Freedom” event on the calendar adds a feeling of normalcy back in my life, which is something I have been craving. I am also looking forward to working with Jeff again and of course Christian and David as well.”

John is a Shepherdstown native whose hospitality career took him deep into the Allegheny Mountains. Before moving to the village of Warm Springs, Virginia he spent his mid-twenties working with the Asam family to manage their Food and Beverage operations. Fast forward 15 years and today you will find John running a boutique inn and farm-to-table restaurant with his wife Kate (a Shepherd U grad).


John’s Culinary Experience

After leaving the Bavarian Inn behind John went on to manage the Main Dining Room and the 1766 Grill, the signature restaurant, at the iconic Homestead Resort in Bath County, Virginia. After spending many years learning this ins and outs of a large-scale F&B operation he was hired on at another famed resort, the Greenbrier Resort, to open Prime 44 West steakhouse as their signature restaurant. All of his F&B experience would help him to step out on his own when in 2011 he and his wife purchased a historic inn called the Inn at Gristmill Square. The Inn and its 50-seat restaurant, the Waterwheel, have been in operation since the early 70s. John and Kate immediately set out to infuse the food & beverage program with a modern approach to farm-to-table dining approach while still maintaining an “rustic elegance” atmosphere and a comfortable yet professional level of service. John’s role is oversight of all F&B operations including menu creation and development. He works closely with his kitchen and service staff to ensure a wonderful dining experience from start to finish.

Waterwheel Restaurant

Bath County’s most iconic Gristmill is home to the award-wining Waterwheel Restaurant.  Within the walls of a hundred + year old Mill, the Waterwheel is one of Bath County’s premier dining destinations since 1972.  Come and explore our creative menu featuring the freshest local and sustainable ingredients often featuring vegetables and herbs from our onsite garden.  This is our approach to contemporary farm-to-table dining at its finest.  Our small group of highly trained individuals provide exemplary yet warm and personable service in a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere.  Guests are invited to visit our wine cellar deep within the old mill foundation or enjoy a classic cocktail at one of the Commonwealth’s smallest bars – on one of the “best four seats in Virginia”.  When it comes to unforgettable and memorable dining, the Waterwheel Restaurant boasts a long-standing reputation as one of Bath County’s most desired dining destinations.

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