3/20/2014

Bringing a Piece of Germany to the Midwest!

Her attraction was simple.  She worked in an office and he was kind. She saw that immediately. More than that, his accent, German, was attractive to her, somewhat sexy and the leather ties he wore just made him a stand out in her mind. She barely knew him but that quickly changed. My dear friend Karen met a German man, Detlef and her life forever changed. 



When she met him, the chemistry was immediate.  When she spoke of him, in the early days, I could sense a metamorphosis right before my eyes.  It was not just star-crossed lovers or infatuation, though it had those elements, it was a soul connection.  She found a man that had chivalry and yet had humility.  Detlef had class and confidence about him at all times but could balance it out somehow with a gentleness that was soft and comforting when she needed a rock to lean on.  His compassion extended to others as well.  She knew she had found a gem. 




Early on in the courtship, it became apparent, German culture was an important part of who Detlef was. Karen’s familiarity with this was non-existent. Infact, her first meal was a German breakfast he served her of hard rolls, cold cuts and soft boiled eggs. She was a Boston raised girl who had been transplanted to Northern Kentucky through her first marriage.  Thus, she set her sights, early on in their courtship and marriage to getting acclimated and familiar with German culture and culinary favorites and traditions, in particular her husband’s.


Through-out their twenty-one year marriage, they both had discussed and dreamed of one day opening a restaurant venue that would be a compilation of the best of their ideas.  Karen would be the creative mastermind behind the design of the space, with Detlef’s input to keep it true to the German heritage so it was authentic.   And the recipes that would be used will only be the tried and true recipes passed down from Detlef’s mother so they were the real deal, German special dishes and not the fast food variety of an imitation plate so many restaurant chains serve.   







This dream became a reality last year and on their twenty-first wedding anniversary, to the day, the restaurant they had so longing dreamed of, was opened, Steinhaus German Restaurant in Florence, Kentucky.  All the years they had spent enjoying going out for good food, great dinner venues and fine dining was now something they were offering to others.  They took the best of what they experienced what they knew and created something better.  

Front Entrance





Their restaurant is more than just a place to eat; it has a style that is uniquely different. 
From the design where the energy flow is a constant stream through-out the inside of the
facility with no angles or cuts anywhere to the unusual European style mixed bathroom one has to see to compare to typical public American restrooms.  There are hand painted murals on the walls of the countryside of Germany.  







So many places to eat these days are chains.  I am so thrilled my friend chose to start something that is truly an original, uniquely theirs, not a replica of anything created before.  This is the real Mom and Pops idea, the American dream. Detlef became an American citizen because he believes in the dream and is working hard to make it materialize.  The Koeppes feel the best value is in supreme service, excellent food, and a divine environment.  These are their core values and the guiding principles they drive the restaurant and their staff with each and every day.





Especially popular here is a concept called The Gratitude Circle.  This is a special table with a spiral on the carpet where diners can be seated on one side or both sides of the unusual shaped table.  It has wall barriers so it is a more secluded area of the restaurant making it feel as if you are in the elite crowd sitting there and it is in close proximity to the bar as well! It is best seen as it is a hard image to describe.    The acoustics in the center of the circle is something magical; the voice of the person speaking echoes! I had the opportunity to be seated in this area, very cool!





A German restaurant would not be German if not for many steins around to view. This place has the most elaborate decorative steins you will ever see anywhere! And several are huge!  The beauty of the imagery on them is unbelievable and they will allow you to freely take pictures while dining there which many diners I noticed do.  It is impossible to capture them all in just one visit.  






There is also a Stein Club patrons can join. When you dine there, be sure and ask your waiter for all the details. With a membership, you can attend the regular meetings for

Stein Club Members

members and also get your stein put in the boxed area behind the waiter stand and held there exclusively for you any time you arrive at Steinhouse.  



To understand how those that frequent their restaurant feel, one only needs to visit the attached review site to see.  Click this to go to Reviews Chris Helms, General Manager, is given many accolades also for his ability to not only supervise the staff and manage the restaurant but accommodate large clients’ needs for their reception and banquet hall.   






The biggest thrill of all to me is seeing two wonderful friends with a marriage still full of romance like the day I stood up next to them have a big dream come to fruition. I would hope, by describing what is unique about Steinhouse, others will be enticed to not only experience it but tell others!   Whether on a date night, family night or just a group going out, check it out!  Please let Karen, Detlef or Chris know you would like to be an advocate, if interested, after eating there. Advocates, if given cards, can give out 7 and when those 7 individuals turn theirs in, you get a discount on your meal.  Keep in mind too, the gorgeous banquet rooms are available for larger venues, be it receptions, seminars, business meetings.  They also have different menu options available for those. 




The staff is also important but never as important as you, those that are the patrons. 

Thank you for those reading this that frequent my dear friends’ dream!  And those that are about to go, from reading this blog, Danke schön!






3/04/2014

Inside my Husband's Heart

Today I had a chance to look at my husband’s gallery of pictures on his cell phone.  I am sure some of those were dictated by me. I am notorious as the picture taker extraordinaire.  That doesn't mean my picture-taking is any good.  My method is simply constantly click away and pose people every which way attempting to get the best shot. Many times my husband is ordered and dutifully follows, “Honey, please take a picture of this.” Thank goodness he is so good-humored, or at least he lets me think he is. As I was glancing through his pictures, I found many images I had never seen. Reviewing them was like a picture of my husband’s attitude towards life.  Jim has always delighted in the small moments.  Life, to him, is not all that complicated, at its best.

I saw many pictures he had captured of family that appeared to be taken when no one was paying attention. There also are several that I presume we all thought were long forgotten, removed off his phone for good.  I even saw snapshots of photographs of his parents,deceased. These must have taken when his family was together for their funerals.  All together, these images were a picture of the heart the man I have come to love and cherish.




I tried to capture a cross sampling of his gallery to show a little of each of the people that have made an impression on his life.  However,  there are many folks that matter to Jim where images are not on his cell phone.  Some, no names mentioned, can't stand having their picture taken.  Yet, I know they have had an impact on his life and he deeply values his relationship with them as well.  

Many of Jim's images are not posed. He claims to not be great a picture taking. In spite of that, I found myself reviling at the emotions he seems to capture effortlessly on so many images, in particular of our grandchildren.  I clearly see the innocence so on their faces and their blinding trust.  Amazed at what I saw, when the slideshow was complete, I found myself seeing the sentimental side of a man that shows very little emotion, in pictures.  The humor, which is an integral part of who Jim is, becomes quite evident also.

Jim downloads pictures off his camera periodically.  This sampling is only what currently resides on the gallery. But, I think it is representative of where his heart is. See, some of these images  he has chosen to leave on his cell. I can only speculate it is because they are meaningful to him.   They reveal what he is attuned to, that is not wasting energy over trivial things.  He has always placed great value on intangibles. 

Our faith has been the glue of our relationship.  We both believe God is central and the core of our being. We express this  in different ways but within our marriage, it is key.  In our decision-making, it is the single more important element. 

Life comes at you hard and fast. It seems easier to roll with the flow and not stop and think before making decisions to implement changes.  Positive changes can be life altering too.  They can also alienate others. But, God calls us to be warriors of his word. In doing so, we must follow his lead and sometimes cause those ripples in our lives.  That means, making Christian decisions and holding ourselves accountable for trying to meet those standards. Jim has been a motivator in doing this for me and a footrest when I need to rest from the storm. In our world, it helps us to encircle our life with a support system of individuals that have a belief system similar to ours. He has also always chosen well his friend base.



Jim has had a major impact on my life. He is a rock, in many ways. I think he impacts many others who have known him well too. No matter the depth of despair he is going through, he
remains spiritually strong and outwardly in control.  He never wavers in sharing his profound faith in God with me. This has freed me to share mine with him.  This serves only to strengthen a marriage and individually increase one's commitment to the covenant to God.  When I need strength, Jim builds me up. When I need a shoulder to cry on, he is there. When I need someone to laugh, even if the jokes aren't funny, he finds the strength to laugh, even when God must surely roll his eyes at my humor. 

We are all called to be, in our close relationships, similar to how God is to us, a supporter, a nurturer, a friend, someone who can accept each other’s faults and help each other learn how to grow.  I hope the images from my husband’s phone give you a glimpse into his heart. I know in my heart God smiles when he sees how open my husband’s heart is to those that come near him in his life.  He doesn't always get appreciated for all that he is, he gives and for the fact he expects nothing back. But I know in heaven he will get his just reward. 



Creating this slideshow is a snapshot of how a man who was raised in the Church and has kept his Christian faith throughout his life views those that matter through a scope on his phone.  These are the moments that really count in his life.  Click Here To See