Robert was born and raised in Yardley, PA. He said he came to New Hope when a childhood friend needed a third roommate for an apartment he was renting. Robert said he would move in as long as he didn’t have to cook. The apartment they rented was above the Queen Bee dress shop which is now John & Peter’s.
Robert was a banker and at that time he was working in Trenton, NJ as a Jr. Executive. His friend Grace Dager owned a restaurant called Grace’s Mansion, which was on the property that is now the Living Earth in New Hope. When Grace needed help in her restaurant, she asked Robert if he could wait tables. He would go out with Grace after the restaurant closed to the Swan Bar and was amazed at all the tips he collected. Robert said that Grace would make sure her patrons were tipping him well.
Robert moved to Palm Beach Florida for a while but made his way back to New Hope. He also lived in San Francisco for a short time. When he returned, he went to work at Mother’s Restaurant, famous for their infinitely long lines, and became the manager there. He recalled meeting so many celebrities there, including Ann Miller, Brooke Shields, Christopher Reeves and Rod Stewart, who at that time had a girlfriend in Lumberville, PA.
He also met Don Grady who played Robbie Douglas in the 1960s sitcom “My Three Sons.” Robert said he was the” sweetest” guy and was invited to visit him in Laguna Beach, California.
Robert said everything that happened to him in life was “a fluke.” While working at Mother’s some people came from NY and started talking about buying a restaurant in town. They asked Robert if he was interested in going into business with them, but he said “no.” That restaurant was the Raven. When they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, Robert became General Manager of the Raven in 1985.
Eventually, he became a partner until he sold the Raven in 2004. Robert said he made so many lifelong friends from his days at the Raven. He met Scott DeWitt who eventually bought the Raven, in Key West Fla. where he was a bartender. He became friends with Robert and came back to New Hope with him and bartended at the Raven.
He said one of his favorite memories of living in New Hope was how he met Grace Dager. He said he was walking down the street one day when a woman came down the street in a dune buggy. She jumped out and invited him to her wedding. He said he met such an eclectic group of people at the wedding, including a real madam from Atlantic City. He said he is still friends with the husband of a couple he met there, who is now 92 years old.
Robert also recalled another party in 1971 held by Olive Watson where there were over 400 people at a black-tie event. That was the start of many a party, where he met everyone in town.
Robert said many a famous star came into the Raven. He remembered actress Patricia Neal coming into the Raven with Celeste Holmes. Patricia Neal was unable to go upstairs to use the ladies’ room; she used the men’s room and Robert guarded the door for her. He said Sally Jesse Rafael was a regular and Tyne Daly.
Robert has seen a lot of changes and sometimes feels sad. He attributes people going out less due to internet dating. “I lived here when it was a village, it doesn’t have that anymore. It was a much closer, tighter community.” He added that even so, New Hope is still one of the neatest towns and still very accepting of everyone.
Robert still loves going out for dinner but jokingly said his late nights are over, having been in the restaurant business for most of his life.
He said, “We are fortunate to live in a place where we are celebrated for our uniqueness and not shunned for our differences.” New Hope will always be his home.