You can have your cake and eat it, too.
At least, you can if you’re part of the Winnubst clan, who own and manage Henk’s European Deli & Black Forest Bakery, located on Blackwell just behind Half-Price Books.
Henk Winnubst, the clan’s patriarch, worked in his family’s grocery business in Holland until larger corporate stores started pushing small family-fun operations out of business. With a sister already living in Dallas, Henk and his wife, Jeanne, packed up and moved in 1958. Henk entered a partnership with the well-known Kuby’s Deli, which lasted 30 years.
In 1991, the current Henk’s European Deli location, owned and run as the Black Forest Bakery by Danny Dreyfuss, came up for sale. Henk Winnubst purchased it, and he and his family combined concepts and opened up as a deli, restaurant and bakery.
Today, the business is managed by Henk’s two sons, Adrian and Hubertus, although both Henk and Jeanne still visit several times a week. Tucked away in a not-so-visible location, it’s possible to live in our neighborhood and never know it exists. But every Friday and Saturday night, Henk’s turns into a bustling cultural gathering place, where German-American regulars gather for knackwurst, sauerbraten and other traditional European fare.
“They’re why we started the Friday and Saturday night dinner service and added live accordion entertainment,” Adrian says. “They come for the food, the camaraderie, the singing, the fun. Friday night is always a sell-out crowd.”
Adrian uses a rotation of eight different performers on Friday and Saturday evenings, from all over the region, referred to him by the Texas Accordion Association.
“They are a big hit with our clientele,” he says.
Rounding out this family affair is Adrian’s sister, Hanneke, who works as a relief manager and waitress, and younger sister, Audrey, who’s in charge of the books. Even Adrian’s daughters participate – Skylar, a Lake Highlands High School graduate now attending St. Edwards University in Austin, drives up frequently to help out at busy times and assist her younger sister, Alex, a senior at the high school, with waitress duties.
Besides the restaurant, the family also operates the coffee shop inside Half-Price Books.
The biggest challenge, Adrian says, is “getting time off. We try to help one another, but it’s hard to get away. Last year, my father, Henk, took the whole family – all 22 of us – on a cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary; we had to hire on extra staff and bring in a few distant cousins…”
The question now is whether the next generation will step in full-time when Adrian and Hubertus retire.
“That’s a big mystery,” Adrian grins mischievously.