New Ashby Inn GM Brings a Wealth of Experience


(Tuesday, May 15, 2007 2:30 PM EDT)

The Ashby Inn and Restaurant has a history and reputation that needs the right management to uphold it, and Carlos Nunes, the inn's new general manager, seems up to the task.

In the hospitality business for more than 20 years, Nunes has been general manager at Tazira in Bethesda, L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls and Bobby Van's Steakhouse in the District of Columbia, and, he says, he truly loves working in his field.

“My parents were both in the hospitality industry, and I tagged along as a kid,” Nunes said in a recent interview. “It then became the way I financed my tuition, and slowly but surely I realized it was what I was passionate about.”

Nunes originally had aspirations of being involved in law and earned a J.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin. Although he isn't practicing law now, Nunes said that his degree helps in his critical thinking as a general manager.

Working in Hunt Country never crossed Nunes' mind until he moved into the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia last summer. And when he found the opening at the Ashby Inn, he was sold on working there.

“It was pretty amazing how in this little village of Paris, it seemed that I was in my element,” Nunes said. “It resembles the town where my father is from, in Portugal, so it's almost like I was going back home.”

Starting a new job always has its ups and downs, but Nunes has been very pleased with his experience at the inn since he started in mid-March.

“It's been challenging, because I don't think any general manager has a blueprint. I can't take whatever I've known from another specific place and use it. I have to try and use the environment around me,” he said. “I don't want to compromise the integrity of the place and locality. I want to adapt to it and enhance it.”

Working with Chef Brian Pellat has been a particularly positive part of his work so far.

“I think we're blessed to have a classically trained chef . . . Brian is perhaps one of, if not the best chef I have ever worked with,” Nunes said. “What [general managers] do is accentuate the food that comes out of the kitchen, and working with someone like Brian makes it much easier to please guests as they join us.”

Nunes' new job keeps him very busy, but when he isn't working, Nunes likes spending time with his wife, 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, and enjoying the local attractions and festivals.

Ashby Inn general manager Carlos Nunes, right, welcomes Marion and Frank Benedetto to the restaurant.

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