WHO WE ARE
MARVIN & HELENE GRALNICK
Co-Owners + Artists
If you've visited Library Kitchen + Bar, you've seen the incredible thought provoking and happy art that decorates our walls by co-founder and world renowned artist Marvin Gralnick. Marvin Gralnick's creative background hasn't always been restricted just to 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 CHICOS, FAS 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 while waiting for the perfect concept and opportunity to grow to fill the historic Sapphire valley icon. After meeting Chef Johannes Klapdohr and his keen eye for creativity and play in 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 Gralnick's. Their touches are evident everywhere you look from the initial design to the colorful art installations that hang from floor to ceiling. It's not unusual to see Marvin walking through the front door with something in hand to hang on the walls that day.
Chef Johannes Klapdohr
Johannes Klapdohr was born in Germany into a family of four generations of Hoteliers, Restaurateurs and Chefs.
His great grandfather bought the famous hotel “Bellevue” in his home town Bad Kreuznach in 1906 and since than the Klapdohr family has made hospitality their entrepreneurial passion. Growing up in his parent’s hotel he loved especially the culinary part and helping his father in the kitchen. Therefore, he decided early on to become a chef which led to his apprentice chip in 1982. Throughout his early years in the culinary profession he won many awards at culinary competitions including being the youngest finalist of the most important one, the German “Rudolf Achenbach Preis”.
After his graduation he went on to study in some of the finest hotels and restaurants and worked with the best chefs in the world including the Relais&Chateau “Hotel Bareiss” in the black forest which has been in the top five of German hotels for decades and Eckard Witzigman, one of only four chefs in the world to be named “Chef of the Century” by Gault Millau in his legendary “Restaurant Aubergine” in Munich. After 12 years of working in Casual and Michelin Star Restaurants, Hotels and Resorts, Catering and Banquets he became the Executive Chef of the “Schloss Glienicke” in Berlin.
He came to the US in 1996 as Atlanta’s restaurants where seeking Michelin Star trained chefs to help during the Olympic Games. In 1998 he was assigned the position of Chef de Cuisine at “Nikolai’s Roof,” Atlanta’s finest award winning restaurant. He quickly earned himself a place in the best 100 Restaurants in the US and the Mobile four-star award in 2000. In 2004 he became the Executive Chef of “The Lodge at Sea Island” the prestigious Mobile five star, AAA five diamond hotel of the coast of Georgia. During his tenure the Lodge became the # 1 small hotel in the US, including fine dining, and the # 1 golf hotel in the world in 2007.
From 2007 to 2009 he held the Position of Executive Chef of the “Culinary Vegetable Institute” and was the Director of Product Development at “Chefs Garden Inc.” in Ohio. “Chefs Garden” is the leading sustainable farm in the US and Chef Johannes worked with companies such as Morrison, Birds Eye and McCormick to integrate sustainability into their corporate profile. In 2009 he rejoined 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 the past 7 years The Old Edwards Inn has become one of the most renowned resorts in the world including # 24 in the world by TripAdvisor and Travel&Leisure # 1 hotel in the US.
After 33 successful years and experience in the hospitality business he decided to partner with Marvin and Helene Gralnick to create “Library Kitchen and Bar” in Sapphire, NC.
Chef Joe Houston
Chef de Cuisine
Chef Joe was born and raised in Lamoille County, 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. It was there where his banquet chef handed him a culinary school application and a letter of recommendation.
After graduation from the New England Culinary Institute in 2008 he traveled to California, and started working at “Erna's Elderberry House” and “Chateaux du Sureau” his first experience working under the Relais&Chateaux banner.
In 2010 he had the opportunity to study under Chef Colin Bedford at the prestigious “Fearrington House”, a 5 Star Relais&Chateaux property in Chapel Hill, NC. He was a member of the team that helped achieve Relais Gourmand, one of the highest ranks achievable in the Relais&Chateaux community.
In his tenure at the “Fearrington House” he started as a line cook and moved through the ranks to sous chef, catering chef and lastly sous chef of their casual dining restaurant “The Granery”. After five years in the Triangle he was offered the sous chef position to open a new restaurant, “The Bowery” in Franklin, NC
It was there when he heard that the historic library restaurant in Sapphire is under restoration and that Chef Johannes was looking for experienced culinarians to open Library Kitchen and Bar.
Chef Joe joined our opening team in December 2016.
Chef Jose Ruiz
Jose Luis Ruiz was born in NY and worked his way up from dishwasher to Chef Saucier at the prestigious “Devon Yacht Club” in East Hampton on Long Island. In 1999 he had the opportunity to work at the “Hornet Dorsett Primavera Hotel” a four star Relais & Chateaux property located on Puerto Rico’s West Coast. Conde’ Nast magazine rated it one of the top small resort hotel properties in the Caribbean.
He started as saucier and later became the Chef de Cuisine of the “Blue Room” the exclusive fine dining restaurant of the Hotel.There he worked under 2 and 3 Star Michelin trained Executive Chef Aaron Wratten. After four years, he went back to the US to take advantage of the seasons working in Florida in the winter and Highlands, NC in the summer. In Florida, he started working at some of the finest clubs including the “Grand Harbor Club”, “Mountain Lake”, “John’s Island Club” and the “Hawk’s Nest Golf Club”
From 2004 to 2010 Jose studied also under several chefs at the famous “Windsor”, a Private Polo and Golf Club in Vero Beach. There he became the sous chef of the fine dining beach club and in his last 2 years had the privilege to work under Executive Chef Eric Chavot a 3 Star Michelin Chef that run the kitchen at the Capital Hotel in London for 10 years.
In Highlands, NC he joined the culinary team of the “Wildcat Cliffs Country Club” from 2003 to 2016 where he held several positions including sous chef and executive chef. It was there where he heard about the opening of the “Library Kitchen and Bar” and Chef Jose joined the opening team in 2016.
Co-owner, Restaurant General Manager
Liz Klapdohr's gift of making people feel welcome is a trait that everyone recognizes after meeting her. Klapdohr brings over 20 years of experience in hospitality to Library Kitchen + Bar. She, alongside her husband, Chef Johannes Klapdohr work tirelessly to run the operation and have fun while doing so!
Brian Eckard has been in the restaurant business for more than 23 years, in several states in the Southeast including North and South Carolina and Virginia. He has held the positions of General Manager, Operating Partner, Area Supervisor and owned and operated three restaurants during his tenure. Eckard brought his strong culinary background to Library Kitchen and Bar in 2017 heightening our beer and wine selection, craft cocktail menu and ensures our guests have a wonderful and memorable experience each time they eat with us.