“We’ve worked hard. We were looking for a new home, a nice town and a smaller business, and the people in Big Bear are so nice, so we decided to open a German deli here,” said Carol Winkelmann, who along with her husband, Karl, have opened the Old German Deli at the west end of the Big Bear Lake Village. “A German Deli has always been Karl’s dream.”
The Old German Deli is at 40645 Village Drive, the west end of the Village across from The Lodge Hotel, in Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-878-0515.
Karl, a master chef, began his culinary career at age 14. He left his home in Germany to begin an apprenticeship in England at a renowned cooking institute. Four years later, Hilton International hired Karl and sent him abroad throughout Europe, Asia and Egypt. He eventually landed in Los Angeles.
Then, in 1986, Karl joined the Hyatt Hotel Group and took over as chef for the Palm Springs Hyatt Regency. There, he met his wife of 25 years, Carol. The two, along with their six combined children, continued to work as restaurateurs, including directing the very popular fine dining eatery in Lake Arrowhead, the Raven’s Nest Restaurant.
“It was fine dining at its best,” Carol said. “We had a high caliber of clientele. It was wonderful.”
The Raven’s Nest survived the Old Fire in 2003, but when the recession hit in 2008, the Winkelmanns decided to cut their losses and explore new avenues back in Palm Springs. They became known as the exclusive, independent caterers for the premier O’Donnell Golf Club, an establishment frequented by the elite. But, with children raised and now six grandchildren to enjoy, Karl and Carol tired of the constant hustle and bustle. Besides, Karl still had one thing left he wanted to do.
About two months ago, Karl and Carol, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Vanessa and Jesse Childress, made the leap to live the dream in Big Bear and The Old German Deli was born.
“What better person to run a German delicatessen then someone who really knows the products?” Carol said of Karl.
The Old German Deli features authentic German meats, gourmet cheeses, imported German groceries, an international beer selection, hot and cold sandwiches, German potato salad, soups and more. Patrons can eat in or take out meals, and purchase fresh delicacies to prepare at home. The patio is pet-friendly, and the restaurateurs can even be caught spending time with other families as they would their own.
The reviews on Yelp and Facebook are already showing that The Old German Deli is growing to be a new crowd favorite and Karl and Carol are feeling positive about sharing their family favorites with others.
“We feel so very fortunate and blessed to join this community,” Carol said. “We’ve received such a warm welcome already. We just know this is where we were meant to be to build our legacy for our children, grandchildren and all of the family to come.”