Welcome….enjoy a little taste of Germany
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Friday nights are the busiest
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: No changing station
High Chairs: Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu? Yes
Allergy info: No peanut oil is used. Make server aware of all allergies at time of ordering.
Through the years I’ve denoted several restaurants as “hidden gems” when referring to great little establishments many people may not even know exist. The kids and I recently discovered another little “hidden gem.” And when I say “hidden”, well, I mean that literally.
Over the river and through the woods
A couple years back when searching on the internet I remember seeing something about the Black Forest Café in Oregon. As I had never heard of the Cafe previously, I was intrigued by the photos and committed to “ stop in one day.” It took us awhile, but we finally got there.
You may be familiar with the German/American Festival, established only, say, 41 or 42 years ago! The largest ethnic festival in Northwest Ohio, it is held at Oak Shade Grove on Seaman Rd. in Oregon. And the beautiful park, filled with lots and lots of trees, is actually private property. But Monday through Friday way in the back of that parkland you will find a quaint German restaurant, nestled in the woods, that opened to the public seven years ago.
Old World atmosphere
Restaurants serving Italian and Mexican fare are plentiful around town. Not the case with German food. Thoughts of potato pancakes and spaetzle danced in my head as we made our way over the river to the Cafe that resembles an Old World chalet. Step inside and cross the globe. The large wooden light fixtures, stone fireplace, grand cuckoo clock, and countless collectibles from Germany will no doubt make you excited for what comes next……authentic German fare! One of the things I loved most about our visit was our great dinner conversation discussing Germany and other European countries, including their different cultures and customs. I even briefly allowed a phone out at the table (making an exception to our family rule) so we could look at the map and see exactly where all the countries were located.
According to the manager of the “front of the house”, Sue Bigelow, the restaurant is run by seven societies. These local organizations might be dedicated to preserving and promoting German song, promoting German and Bavarian culture in Toledo, or even preserving the culture and music of Switzerland.
Authentic German favorites
As you would expect, the menu is comprised of countless German options, joined by some great stand-by favorites like Ruebens, BLTs, veggie burgers, patty melts, and more.
The kids and I started with a couple soft pretzels served with a Bavarian cheese spread. We also gobbled up the potato pancakes served with sour cream and applesauce. They were reminiscent of the ones my dad used to make.
According to Sue Bigelow, the Jägerschnitzel is very popular — a thinly pounded pork cutlet, freshly breaded and fried crisp then covered with Jäger gravy consisting of mushrooms, bacon, onions, and red wine. I opted for the Hübnerschnitzel a similar dish, but made with chicken and served with a different style gravy or lemon wedges. Of course, I had German potato salad and delicious spaetzle for my sides. The Cafe boasts three different kinds of wurst (sausages). And as you might expect, the Black Forest Café has quite the selection of beer.
My youngest literally annihilated a HUGE Black Forest Burger. It was a third of a pound burger topped with two slices of smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried egg, and Weisswurst served on a huge pretzel bun. Delish. The Perch sandwich and BLT were enjoyed at the table as well. But if you crave chicken paprikash, it’s only served the third Friday of the month. If your little ones eat much less than my growing boys, they offer a basic kids’ menu for those 12 and under for only $4.50.
Hidden off the road amidst a “forest”, you will find the Black Forest Café with a taste of the Old World charm and authentic German fare. It’s one of the only places around town where you can enjoy a large selection of German food and your family will love the atmosphere. For the less adventurous you are safe with a kids’ menu that will please even the picky eaters. Take note it is only open Monday-Friday.
Black Forest Café
Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd. Oregon 43616