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Guten appetit (Enjoy your meal!)

Wishing you a nice German meal at Blue Holler Cafe near Mammoth Cave National Park

“Hello everybody. Everything good out here?”

That is Claudia or Harry Ramthun speaking. The German-born owners of the Blue Holler Cafe near Mammoth Cave, served by Warren RECC, regularly come to the dining area to greet guests and chat a few minutes whenever possible. 

They love meeting all the people from around the world who come to the national park and then stop in the Blue Holler Cafe for a bite to eat. Occasionally, they meet people from their native Germany.

Guests are busy eating scrumptious German food often not found anywhere else in Kentucky except larger cities. Zigeuner schnitzel—pork loin with sliced onions and bell peppers—is their most popular dish. “It is very popular in Germany, too,” Claudia says. Loaded baked potatoes are a close second as is shaslik—two skewers with pork, bacon and green peppers served with a special curry sauce.

If you don’t see Harry, it might be because he is making the most popular dessert—a Bavarian cream chocolate cake. Claudia makes the chocolate layers and Harry does the rest. “The cake is four layers high,” Claudia says, “so it is a big piece.”

Another favorite is a huge baked pretzel, so large it requires a plate of its own. 

Enjoy German and American food at Blue Holler Cafe near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
The back deck of Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, looks out on the holler for which it is named. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Giant loaded baked potatoes. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Check out the recipe for German potato salad. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Bavarian cream chocolate cake. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Black Forest cake. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Blue Holler Cafe serves a fish dinner and all-you-can-eat fish on Fridays. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Rouladen, spaetzle and red cabbage. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Enjoy a giant pretzel at Blue Holler Cafe, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo: Blue Holler Cafe
Photo: Blue Holler Cafe

Word of mouth has kept the restaurant thriving since May 2014 when the Ramthuns arrived in the area and were trying to decide what to do for a living. When they saw the building where the restaurant is now, they said to themselves: “We’re German. We love to cook. Let’s open a German restaurant.” They never had to totally close, even for COVID-19.

Employees are the other reason the restaurant has survived some of the toughest times restaurants have ever seen. 

“My employees are the best,” says Claudia. She cannot praise them enough for their incredible work ethic, which includes making sure the customers are 100% satisfied 100% of the time.

If you are wondering why a German restaurant would be named the Blue Holler Cafe, look out the back windows. You’ll see beautiful Blu Holler.

“We made a mistake with the spelling,” Claudia says, but decided just to leave it spelled blue.” Make no mistake with the food, however. Not only do they serve German delights but also American favorites such as hamburgers, fish and chicken. There is even a menu for the kids.

The breakfast bar is open on weekends, Saturday and Sunday. Check out the the Facebook page for other specials.

The Blue Holler Cafe, 7713 Nolin Dam Rd., (270) 286-0013, is open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Wednesdays–Thursdays; 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Fridays–Saturdays (9 p.m. summer); and 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Sundays. They close for the season in November and reopen the first of April. (270) 286-0013

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