Cotton Geatz's Restaurant      301-724-2223
About Us

Owners JP and Brenda Geatz.

Please enjoy the history of our family heritage below.





We invite you to come and experience a restaurant that is an American Heritage.

132-Year-Old Business Now Fifth Generation Ownership

This is the time to celebrate the history of one of the oldest family owned and continually operated restaurant of its kind in the United States and is the oldest in Maryland. Geatz's Restaurant, Inc. is now operated by the fifth generation of the Geatz family.

This all began in 1860, when Johannes Gotz, whose name was later changed to John Geatz, for pronunciation, and his fiancée, Anna Catherine, moved to Cumberland, MD from Bavaria, Germany. Ten days after their arrival they were married at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Cumberland. John worked in a lumber yard until he started in the Saloon/lunchroom business around 1880 on Baltimore Street in downtown Cumberland. With his Brewmeister heritage it is not hard to understand his passion to own multiple saloons. John had seven children with first wife Anna: Joseph T, Catherine (Kate Morland), George, Mary B (Mary Wallace) and with second wife Catherine E: John J., William (Willie),  and Margaret (Maggie King).

After John's death, it is believed that his sons, George P., John J. and William operated the saloons. The Geatz saloons and lunchrooms gradually migrated to one location. The business was then known as the John Geatz's Saloon/lunchroom where you could get a Cumberland made Lager Beer for 5 cents. It was located on Mechanic Street in downtown Cumberland MD believed to be where the Times News Building is located today. George P. took over in 1896 when he married Emma Ritter daughter of Paul and Emma (Kate Fobel) Ritter, that owned Paul Ritter & Son Brewery Co. 34 Paca Street, Cumberland, MD, located where the Queen City Towers now stand.

In 1905 George P. moved the business to its present location 206 Paca Street, Cumberland. In 1918 his wife Emma Ritter Geatz passed away of Influenza leaving son Norman Franklin, Sr. (Cotton) age 14 and daughter Anna Catherine (Cassie Parsons) age 1.

On March 28, 1936, George P. was involved in a car accident, which left him with a broken hip and pelvis, never to walk again, dying a year later in 1937. At which time his son Norman (Cotton) took over ownership of "Geatz’s". Cotton married Margaret Elliott and had seven children: Elizabeth Jeanne (Jeanne Printy), Norman Franklin (Norm), Patricia Ann (Pat FitzPatrick), Margaret Louise (Peg Wilt), Nancy Emma (Nancy Quinn), George Elliott, John Philip (Phil). Through his business "Cotton" made hundreds of friends over the years. He continued to run his bar restaurant until his retirement in 1978 when two of his sons, George E. and John P. "Phil" Geatz, purchased the business. Before Cotton and Margaret’s passing they had 41 Grandchildren. The story has been told many times how Margaret could name all of them and never forgot any of their birthdays.

George with wife Marianne (Weaver) having four children: Erin (Erin DeLong), Todd, Micheal (Corey), Amy ( Amy Heuay ) and Phil with wife Joan (Wilt) having three children: John Philip, Jr. (JP), Stephen Eric (Eric), and Juli (Juli Greely), began the corporation now known as Geatzs Restaurant, Inc. George and Phil ran the family business together for over 20 years until Phil and his son JP bought George’s shares in  the company in 1999.

In 2003 Phil Geatz passed away leaving his wife Sis, son JP and wife Brenda to carry on the family heritage. JP with wife Brenda (Wolf) bringing three children to the family: Richard, Anthony and Adam McDonald have stepped into the Fifth Generation of the family Business. They have been working in the family business since 1988. They now over see the running of the restaurant.

JP and Brenda plan to continue on with the family heritage of Cotton Geatzs by keeping it the fun place to meet and eat with old and new friends and family. The Geatz family is very Proud to be located in such a wonderful city with so much heritage and would like to congratulate Cumberland, MD on it 225 year.

Article by: Brenda Geatz - information from book: Paul Hugo Ritter, Rottweil to Cumberland, by Ruth Ritter Runner



Open Mon - Thur  9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m
Sat from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Geatz's Restaurant, Inc
202 Paca Street, Cumberland, MD 21502      301-724-2223

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