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Expert Insight from Karen Maslin

It doesn’t get much better than live music, fresh beer and Bavarian cream puffs.

Karen Maslin, a native of the Cincinnati area, has spent her entire career working in restaurants in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. And though there are plenty of great restaurants throughout the region, few are as fun and memorable as Hofbrauhaus Newport, where Maslin works as sales and events manager.

“We are modeled after the Hofbrauhaus in Munich,” Maslin said. “We’re a German beer hall and restaurant. We have wiener schnitzel, mashed potatoes and, of course, sauerkraut. We also have specialties like sauerbraten [marinated beef with red wine and cabbage] and grillhendl [Octoberfest-style roasted chicken].”

Complementing the traditional German flavors are signature beers, which add to the festive atmosphere.

“We brew all our beer here on-site,” Maslin said. “There are four beers on tap all the time. Three are staples — our lager, dunkel and hefe weizen. Then we have a brewer’s choice that changes monthly and a list of seasonal beers. We have a keg tapping on the last Wednesday of every month, with a parade.”

Visitors enjoy the parades, but groups don’t have to visit during one of the beer tappings to have a lively experience.

“We have live entertainment nightly,” Maslin said. “You can get up and do the chicken dance with a polka band, so it’s a lot of fun.”

For Maslin, the fun started more than a decade ago when she joined the staff of Hofbrauhaus Newport, which will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. There are now Hofbrauhaus locations in Columbus and Cleveland, as well as Chicago and Las Vegas.

“I started here 11 years ago,” she said. “I knew the person who did the management, and he brought me in. I came in as an events and marketing manager, then switched to the finance side. Now I do both events and finance.”

Involvement in events has Maslin planning and promoting some big celebrations, such as the restaurant’s 15th anniversary party and the Cincinnati Beer Run, an event that Hofbrauhaus hosts each May.

Maslin’s responsibilities entail promoting and booking parties — rehearsal dinners, bachelor parties and the like — as well as group tours.

“Groups are usually seated in our main beer hall,” she said. “That’s where the live entertainment is. A lot of them do a plated dinner with a salad, a pretzel, an entree and a dessert. They get the full experience. Dessert is typically our Black Forest cake, a chocolate cake with a cherry filling; but other favorites are apple strudel or the Bavarian cream puff.”

Maslin represents the restaurant at group travel conferences and trade shows including the American Bus Association Marketplace, Travel South Showcase and Heartland Travel Showcase, where she emphasizes the restaurant’s individuality and lively spirit.

“We promote the fun,” she said. “It’s all about having fun here. The live entertainment is a big draw for groups. We’re unique and different, not something you usually find everywhere else.”

A Sales Tip from Karen

“It’s all about the people you meet and the connections you make. Being able to put a name with a face makes a world of difference in earning the trust and respect of clients, both present and future, as well as makes them more comfortable with you.”

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.