The Ruoff Family of Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant

A Half Century Of Fine Dining Doesn’t Just Happen…

It takes hosts dedicated to knowing their guests, their guests’ tastes, and by treating everyone who enters with an indefinable, yet genuine “welcome.” It takes people like the Ruoffs.

The Ruoff family at the Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant in Gardiner, have done it flawlessly for 50 years and become a landmark dining destination in the Shawangunks. Their Old World menu has evolved along with the ever changing sophisticated culinary expectations of the Hudson Valley. The Ruoffs have never compromised their authentic German dishes relished by so many dedicated diners. Those dishes, prepared today by Culinary-trained chefs, are still prepared using the original recipes. Add to that the Brauhaus’ chef’s own creations plus the World Famous Gunkburgers, and it’s a recipe for at least fifty more years of success.

The Brauhaus was started by Emil Ruoff a half century ago as Emil’s Sugar Bowl. He wanted a steak house. Fortunately, the cooks he hired were Germans longing to make the foods they knew and loved–Sauerbraten, Red Cabbage, Dumplings, Wienersnitzel. Loyal customers ate steadily and happily away at Emil’s steak house plans.

The next generation of Ruoffs, Emil’s nephew John and John’s wife, Margarete came on the scene in the mid sixties. Margarete, raised on a farm in Northern Germany, learned to cook, sew, and garden–as though destined for the life she would lead at the Brauhaus. The beautiful table flowers and window boxes and planters are hers. She makes all the dirndl dresses worn by the waitresses and she lends a learned hand in the kitchen when necessary. John and Margarete raised their four children “mostly at the restaurant.” The children started helping out early, and regularly when they were about seven or eight. Their son Mark is now the manager, and daughter Ilka, and her husband, chef Kevin Casey all work in the restaurant. The other Ruoff children live locally, too. Eugene is an engineer, and Karin is an artist whose horse portraits and paintings hang throughout the restaurant. Ilka and Kevin’s son, Oliver Casey is currently in executive training to water the plants.

According to Margarete, the years the family has put into the business have been “a lot of work!” But she quickly adds, “…but all good.” The many ever-loyal people are always a welcome sight coming through the door– “it’s seeing old friends.”

John, a trained accountant, now works doing the financial end of the business. He and Margarete are enjoying (and rightly proud) watching the next generation bloom, right there in Gardiner.