His business doesn’t own him, symbolically or in any other way. David Deimler is very much his own man, a proprietor, an entrepreneur, a restauranteur.

But Deimler does honor his personal sense of obligation, to the establishment’s past, to his family, to his town and to his community. In that way, the 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails at the Warwick Hotel makes Deimler and his family’s hometown a better place to live.

Deimler is only a few months into owning and operating the 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails at the Warwick Hotel, situated at 12 W. Main St. in quaint Hummelstown – central Pennsylvania’s very own slice of Americana. Deimler’s vision for the business is so vivid that sometimes he loses sight of how well things have progressed thus far.

The 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails eatery is at the Warwick Hotel.

“This is just where I work,” said Deimler, perched at a bar drowning in history. “I don’t look at it like it owns me. I’m just trying to do my best for my family. If I’m not representing my family, I’m failing. But I’m also trying to run it the way that’s best for what the town doesn’t have.

“It’s not my restaurant,” continued Deimler. “I’m a keyholder. It would be amazing to be the owner in 2047, when this building turns 250 years old. The attraction of this building to local people is crazy. But if you want this place to be a diamond, the restaurant also has to be a diamond.”

More than the town’s premiere dining experience or the downtown’s anchor business, Deimler strives for The 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails at the Warwick Hotel to be a destination, a space that draws out-of-towners to Hummelstown, a place that local residents can be proud of.

It all starts with the quality of the food, but neither can the importance of great service, unrivaled ambiance or attention to the smallest of details be overstated.

“When it went up for sale, I saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime, to run this hotel the way I see fit,” said Deimler, who also owns and operates Babe’s Grill House in Palmyra. “It is a challenge. You’re either addicted to this business or you’re not. You’re either addicted to serving people or you’re not. I’m very competitive. I’ve heard so many people say I couldn’t do it.

“It’s only been two months, but things are going great,” he added. “It’s gotten off to a better start than I could have imagined. I have a feel for what’s going on. I think people are into the quality of our food. I want it to be ‘The Restaurant’ in town. I want it to be ‘that place.’ I don’t think it’s very neighborly to bring in a restaurant that’s like every other restaurant in town.”

The pricing of The 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails at the Warwick Hotel’s menu, which changes seasonally, about three times a year, very much reflects the quality of its food. “The 1762,” which is named for the year of Hummelstown’s founding, is open every weekday except Tuesdays, from 4 to 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from 4 p.m. to midnight.

“I do local organics and homemade, all of which are at a higher quality,” said Deimler. “Our menu represents a collage of foods, but more French and Mediterranean offerings. We have a lot of Thai flavoring in there. We have a lot of flavors in there.

“The quality of the food is important, but it’s not everything,” he added. “There’s also service and atmosphere. When you walk into a restaurant, it should feel alive. When I would come in here before, it felt dead, there was no energy. Now you can feel it when you walk in the door. I’m a hug and handshake kind of guy. I just want to make people feel at home, feel wanted.”

A bit of local history.

The property at 12 W. Main St., Hummelstown, was originally constructed as a residence in 1767. Thirty years later, it was transformed into the Cross Keys Hotel.

Deimler and his wife Kylie are the ninth owners of the business formerly known as the Warwick Hotel, or simply “The Wick” by locals.

David and Kylie Deimler stand by the menu board outside 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails.

“It’s been remodeled over the years, but it’s always been a bar and restaurant,” said Deimler. “For a time, it was more known as a restaurant. Then it was known more as a bar. It’s gone back and forth, but it hasn’t been known as a hotel for a long time.

“When I’m completely done fixing it up, it’s going to be the gem of the town,” he continued. “We’re going to have beautiful hotel rooms upstairs and we’re going to be the best restaurant in town. It’s going to be a five-star restaurant with 4.5-star service. I’m looking to have the best food around, for everyone.”

David Deimler gestures inside 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails.

Not every small town like Hummelstown is home to a space like the 1762 Kitchen and Cocktails at the Warwick Hotel. But places like “The 1762” only exist in small towns like Hummelstown.

“There’s a reason it was voted one of the top 100 towns in the country,” said Deimler. “It has everything downtown. It has a world-class school district in Lower Dauphin. People are friendly and they’re about the town. It’s a very family-oriented town. I think people look out for each other here.

“It’s a phenomenal place to live. It’s a phenomenal place to own a business,” he added. “My wife went to Lower Dauphin. My kids go to Lower Dauphin. We want to represent them the right way. We want to do a good job.”

A 1998 graduate of Hershey High School, Deimler grew up in the retail service industry. He originally went to college to be an elementary school teacher, before switching to a business major.

Deimler and his wife purchased Babe’s Grill House in 2012.

“To me, it’s just what I do,” said Deimler. “You have to cut your work down by building a great team. You’re nothing without your team. I try not to micro-manage. We don’t have a problem listening. It doesn’t have to be our way all the time.”

Because you can’t have a great small town without a great hotel/tavern.

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Jeff Falk is a seasoned journalist based in Lebanon, PA. He's a graduate of Cedar Crest High School, Penn State University, and a lifelong resident of Lebanon, born and raised. Currently, he is a feature writer for Engle Publishing in Lancaster, the editor of LebCoSports.com, sports director at WLBR...