Speaking with Barbara Aichem-Koster, it's pretty clear that Black Forest Inn is a family business. "My father is head chef Heinrich. My brother is Heiner––short for Heinrich––and his two children are Heinrich and the other, Hansi. They're cooks too." Barbera and her kitchen full of Heinrichs have helped feed Stanhope for more than 34 years with what she calls German continental cuisine––a product of the elder Heinrich's rich culinary education.
"My father was born in Germany, learned to cook there and across Europe," she says. "He worked his way up in different restaurants. Then my brother went back to Germany and did the very same thing." It's this attention to tradition that Barbera credits to the freshness of the ingredients. "We try to use a lot of local produce in seasonal menus and specials. … We don't buy prepared items." Luckily for diners, that also means that the wurst sausages and the German-style pasta, or spaetzle, are housemade.
The elegantly rustic dining room has hand-painted stained-glass ceiling panels, exposed brick, and a hand-crafted bar stocked with a multitude of imported German beers. This, along with periodic live music, has helped bring a younger clientele to Black Forest. "I had a group of 20 young people in here for the Friday-night buffet. The staff pointed out what everything was, explained it to them. And one of the girls, she called later that week, wanted to say how fabulous it was. I grew up in this restaurant, so that was really nice to hear."