By Mason W. Canales
Harker Heights Herald
The Black Forest Haus is a dream come true for the owner, and it is a dream she didn't think she had a chance at until she opened the restaurant's doors.
On Aug. 22, Andrea Pink opened The Black Forest Haus, her own German restaurant at the Heights Plaza in Harker Heights, 710 Edwards.
"I have always wanted my own restaurant, but I never thought of one here in Killeen," Pink said.
The restaurant kind of just fell in Pink's lap, she said.
Pink, a former Wurst Mart employee, was seeking a job as a bartender at Club Laredo when the owner asked her if she was interested in opening up a German restaurant, she said.
She accepted and since then the business has been "adventurous" and steady, Kitchen Manager Deran Clark said.
In under three months, the restaurant has built a menu of five types of schnitzel and several types of wurst. The menu also features a gulasch soup, cordon bleu, rump steak and spaetzle.
"What we are cooking is strictly German food," said Pink, who grew up in Germany. "There is bratwurst, schnitzel and bread dumplings."
Pink's goal for the restaurant is to provide a reasonably priced, family German-style eatery to those in the Killeen area who love the ethnic food.
"People here come from so many different parts of Germany, you have to find a middle way," Pink said. "But they are happy we have another German restaurant."
Hopefully the soldiers who were stationed in Germany will be able to come in here, and feel like that this is any restaurant they went to overseas.
Home is where the stomach is
Pink came to the U.S. from Germany at the age of 24 and never looked back, until now, she said. She is now 49.
"I do start to miss home, now," Pink said. "With the food and the music, you start to get into the custom, and it makes me actually miss home."
Pink, who loves all kinds of American food, was scared about starting to cook German food again, she said. She worried if people would like it and if she would capture the right flavors, especially since she is making almost everything from scratch.
"In the beginning I was nervous, but now it is feeling like I am back home again," Pink said.
Almost every recipe comes from Pink, but the restaurant has tweaked a little bit of the flavors and is still exploring the menu, Clark said.
The food must be right because the establishment is already building its regulars, Pink said.
Beside the food, the restaurant attempts to offer some German flair with some of its light decorations, but mostly its staff.
Several of the kitchen staff are either from Germany or like Clark, a Killeen native, spent some years in the country, Pink said. The majority of the wait staff speak German, which really allows some of the customers to come here and relate.
People also will be asking each other where they are from and sharing stories of their past, Pink said.
She realizes that the upcoming year is going to be a tough year as she tries to carve a spot for her restaurant in Central Texas, but she already is looking at adding on to the establishment's cultural offerings by seeking German beer and wine.
"This first year is going to be rough, but all you can do is keep offering good food and a good atmosphere," Pink said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.