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Black Forest opens downtown on Friday

Black Forest will open at 123 Fifth Ave. E. on Friday. Black Forest will open at 123 Fifth Ave. E. on Friday.

When George Ettwein opens the doors of the second Black Forest restaurant on Friday night, he will celebrate a homecoming.

“My mom had a restaurant on Main Street back in the ‘80s called Emma’s Sandwiches & More,” he said. “I was working there washing dishes before I got a job in the industry when I was 18 years old where I actually got paid.”
Despite the pay scale, Ettwein has fond memories of his kitchen duty on Main Street and has felt for a while that downtown Hendersonville would be a good location for a second Black Forest.
“I love the atmosphere,” he said. “I love the quaintness, how small it is and how nice everybody is.”
The Black Forest on Fifth Avenue, as it’s called, will offer many of the classic German dishes that the original Black Forest sells but the menu overall will be somewhat scaled back because of the size of the space. The Hendersonville restaurant seats 75 compared to around 250 in Asheville.
Ettwein and his business partner, Greg Ledford, have been operating the Black Forest together since 1997.
“My family comes from Germany, from the Black Forest,” he said. “There are a bunch of cooks and clockmakers in my family.”
After opening for Friday supper, the Black Forest will go to its regular schedule — “11:30 until whenever” seven days a week. That means Hendersonville will gain another restaurant that’s open on Sunday. Many of the popular choices are closed on Sunday.
“Right now we’ve got 12 on staff but I am certainly looking for more people,” he said. “I look forward to seeing everybody and meeting more people over there.”
Lew Holloway, the city’s downtown development director, was glad to see a new tenant in the space, which had been vacant since Mother Butters closed last summer.
“It’s good to see it reoccupied and great to see another angle on food options downtown,” he said. The city has one German restaurant, Haus Heidelberg, just south of downtown but no German food in the heart of the central business district.
The Asheville Black Forest offers a full menu of German, Italian and American entrees ranging in price from $13 to $25. Among the selections are appetizers calamari, potato pancakes and wild mushroom salad; German specialties Jaeger schnitzel, schnitzel uber bachen, wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten and schnitzel Berliner style (topped with caramelized apples and onions), and Italian specialties Filetto cremolata (beef with polenta or pasta), spinach and roasted garlic ravioli and shrimp linguini. Desserts include apple strudel, caramel custard and Black Forest cherry cake. The lunch menu includes salads, reubens and other sandwiches, wraps and entrees.

Since 1997, the Black Forest has been a prime location for family gatherings and social get-togethers.

In a beautifully decorated chalet with its striking Alpine Dining Room, private banquet rooms, intimate lounge area, spacious deck with outdoor seating, and award-winning menu selections, the Black Forest provides an atmosphere of warmth and fine dining suitable for any occasion.

Our chefs have trained in the fine art of German cuisine, and our menu features recipes passed down through generations of the Italian branch of the Ettwein family tree. Our entire staff is committed to providing exceptional service and authentic European fare, ensuring your dining experience with us is outstanding.