Cooking has been a life long dream of mine, I grew up on a farm, and we raised our animals and did our gardening and canning, so that is where my interests started.

Susan Grosz

Owner, Black Forest Bistro

We talked with Susan Grosz of Black Forest Bistro, serving mostly German but also Austrian, Swiss and Italian fare. We talked about beginnings, what led to the restaurant opening during the pandemic, its struggles, and how they have been adapting.

This podcast is sponsored by Artspire La Crosse.

Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by Artspire presented by the Pump House Regional Art Center to attract, engage, and connect artists in the community through an Art Fair and Sale on Saturday, June 12. Information is at We talk with Susan Grosz of Black Forest Bistro serving mostly German, but also Austrian, Swiss, and Italian fare. We talked about beginnings, what led to the restaurant opening during the pandemic, its struggles, and how they’ve been adapting. You can find more conversations on our website, I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.

Susan Grosz 00:43
My name is Susan Grosz and I was born and raised in Germany. I came to the states in 1997. And cooking has been a lifelong dream of mine. I grew up on a farm and we raised our animals and we did our gardening, canning. So that’s where my interest started. I went to culinary art school in Bavaria, Garmisch. I cooked in Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Traveled around and ended up in the States. And I collected a lot of culinary skills along the way. So this has been a fun journey. And I just like to share what I have to offer. So what led to the Black Forest Bistro, due to the pandemic and children staying at home, I started with sourdough bread more for myself. And it’s a quite an interesting story. I started canning and I purchased bushel of tomatoes from a lady in Whitehall at the farmers market. And I brought over my bread, just as gratitude. And she really liked it. And she called me back and said, this is the best bread I’ve ever had. Can you make me some for the farmers market next Saturday? And I said absolutely. That’s how it started. And I baked bread, I believe I gave for like 10 loaves and they sold really fast. So the following week, she asked me if I could make more. And she said the people would like to meet me. So I I doubled the amount and we brought it to the farmers market. I got to meet the people. And it became a very interesting journey. And then I added more treats and bagels and pretzels. And it just started to grow bigger and bigger. And I ended up doing farmers market in Holmen and in Sparta as well as the one in Whitehall. And as the farmers markets came towards the end, a lot of people that have become regular customers, they were asking where can we purchase your breads after the farmers market close. That’s when I started looking for a commercial kitchen. And with my culinary background, I thought this was a great opportunity to get started, even during a pandemic.

Brent Hanifl 03:09
So even with starting out with a bread, what is ist that the Bistro now offers, seems like you offer quite a bit.

Susan Grosz 03:15
Yeah, we do specialize in authentic German food, which is German Austrian to us even Italian dishes, which is very connected in the area where I did my training and cooking. And so everything is made from scratch, I tried to use as many organic products as possible. We have the Sauerbraten and the Wiener Schnitzel, Goulash just to mention a few. Now, we also added the Königsberger, a lot of people have been asking for and we will be bringing some more menu that’s gonna have light options with fish, shrimp and more seafood. So I mean, basically, you know, opening during the pandemic probably has struggles. How has that process been like? It’s not easy, let’s put it this way. But in actuality, for a small family run business to get started, it might have been in my benefit. So we weren’t extremely overwhelmed by, I had staff in training so it kind of worked in my favor. We do have established clientele and we have a lot of people from Europe and Germany and people who have traveled overseas that are definitely enjoying the food and looking forward to coming.

Brent Hanifl 04:39
So if people want to find out more, just check out the offerings where’s the best avenue for them to go to.

Susan Grosz 04:44
We have a website and that shows our menu pricing, there is an option to order online. We also accept phone calls when people want to call In order, you can order everything from our website. As I offer sweet treats and the syrup and we keep changing them and there will be more seasonal products coming. So this is something I recommend people to call in and see what’s available during the week. We’ll be having fruit tarts, cheese cakes, the bee sting cake, I believe it’s called a beehive in the States. We have a large variety of cupcakes tiramisu, authentic tiramisu and so on. So those items I recommend to call in for to find out the availability and everything else is offered on our online ordering system.

Amy Gabay 05:48
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook @lacrosselocal. Find out more about us at And you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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