What's the Story? Story is actually an entire town, located in southern Brown County. The town of Story and the "Story Inn" are one and the same.
From logging to lodging. The town was founded as a logging community in 1851, with the grant of a land patent from President Millard Fillmore to Dr. George P. Story. In the early 1980's two hippies from Bloomington bought and re-assembled the old town, and created the Story Inn. Today, Story is Indiana's premier country inn, and perhaps the best preserved example of a 19th Century village that survives in the American Midwest.
One inconvenient location since 1851. Story is accessible either by motorized vehicle or horseback. If you employ the latter means, you must negotiate the only paved road which services the town (State Road 135). From the county seat of Nashville (population 800) it is a winding 20 minute drive past weather-beaten barns, covered bridges, clapboard churches and the finest fall foliage the Hoosier state has to offer. If you arrive by horseback, you may take the "E" trail from the Horsemen's Camp at the Brown County State Park (about a three hour trek along ridges and through hollers). The trail ends at a hitching post near the town's Tavern.
Meet the Story Inn Staff
Richard R. Hofstetter, Owner
Rick Hofstetter, Story’s owner, is a lawyer and law professor who has fought for two decades to preserve many of Indiana’s most distinguished historic landmarks. He met Frank Mueller (biography appearing below) while serving as the first President of the Athenaeum Foundation, Inc., an effort which saved the Athenaeum building in downtown Indianapolis and earned Rick the Sandi Servaas Award for Historic Preservation in 1992.
Rick pulled Frank out of a comfortable early retirement to buy the financially-troubled town of Story in 1998, “before the bank could make it into a Yogi Bear campground.” Rick was born near Pittsburgh in 1956, and was lured to the Hoosier state by the legendary Indiana University swimming coach James “Doc” Counsilman, who made Rick into an AAU and NCAA champion.
Rick earned his BA and MA from Indiana University in 1978 and 1979, respectively, and his J.D. from Duke Law School in 1982. Rick is an active member of the Indiana Supreme Court Role of Attorneys, teaches business law classes at Butler University College of Business Administration, and for 25 years has served as a neutral for the American Arbitration Association.
Kate Ebel, Director of Sales & Events
Katherine's background in hospitality and events spans over a decade, and has included roles in the kitchen and most recently overseeing all catering operations for Stratton Mountain Resort in southern Vermont. She received formal training in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, TX. She's traveled the country developing her palate and skill set, and would love to assist you with planning your event with us.
For information regarding an event with us, Kate can be reached either by calling the Story Inn at 812-988-2273, or via email at email@example.com
Jacob Ebel, CFBE, Operations Manager
Jacob joined the Story team as its Operations Manager in 2015, overseeing all hospitality operations. Prior to coming to Story, he worked his way through the culinary ranks, most recently holding the titles of Resort Executive Chef for Stratton Mountain Resort in southern Vermont, Executive Chef for the Grande Denali Lodge in Denali National Park, Alaska, and Chef de Cuisine for Lake Tahoe Cruises in South Lake Tahoe, California.
He received formal culinary education from Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies in Louisville, KY, completed an apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation, and earned the designation of Certified Food & Beverage Executive through the American Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s an active member in the ACF, AH&LA, Slow Foods USA, and the James Beard Foundation.
Jacob resides in the town of Story as one of its 4 residents, which includes his wife Kate. Together they enjoy time with their two dogs, Kipper and Charlie, farmer’s markets, craft Indiana beer, and Sierra foothills zinfandel.
Jacob can be contacted with any questions or comments regarding your culinary experience or our Food & Beverage operations at firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy Taber, Maitre d'
Troy Taber, the Story Inn's Maitre d', has an intrinsic gift of perception. Whether helping to determine the best choice of wine, or graciously visiting at the end of the meal, troy touches every guest with genuine hospitality.
He believes hospitality is in his roots, Troy relates well to all individuals from his guests to his staff. He enjoys building teams and relies upon this skill to create a unified staff that effortlessly extends hospitality to others.
Over the past 17 years, Troy's spent time in New York City, Scotland, Prague, Portugal, and Spain honing his palate and skill set for fine food and wine. Known for it's warm service and breadth of it's wine list, the Story Inn has found strength in Troy at the helm. Troy can be reached at email@example.com
Eric Swanson, Executive Chef
Chef Eric, a Richmond native, took the reigns of the Story Inn's culinary team in early 2014. He brings to the table 14 years of progressive industry experience in some of the state's top restaurants. Swanson moved to Bloomington in 1998 to attend Indiana University, where he graduated with honors in English. Being immersed in Bloomington's vast ever growing food culture, It was then and there that he found his true passion for food, particularly sustainable Hoosier cuisine. He enjoys working with local farmers, including Story's gardeners, to craft seasonally inspired menus showcasing their efforts.
Chef Eric resides with his wife and three daughters on their farmstead outside of Bloomington. He can be reached with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Allen, Town Manager
Kevin is an accomplished multi-tasker, and is trained in the civil engineering and land surveying fields.
One Kevin's major projects has been the hands-on renovation of Story's venerable century-old barn, is now an all-weather venue for weddings and other private functions. He also has restored many of the village homes using native Indiana materials typical of the time when Story was the biggest settlement of Brown County, and designed the "Big Doc" smoker behind the Inn. If you see a blonde haired man walking around with a saw, hammer and determination in his eyes, it means Kevin's on to another project.
Jackie Wilkerson, Gardener Extraordinaire
Jackie joined the Story Inn staff in 2012 as a receptionist but when we saw her home garden (like a farm) and her love of being outdoors rain or shine, we were thrilled when she agreed to be our gardener. Right now heirlooms tomatoes from our six-foot high tomato bushes are filling our kitchen coffers to be turned into elegant caprese salads and other summer delights (we say there is nothing more grand and wonderful than a fresh Indiana tomato) along with a long list of other vegetables including squash, beans, eggplants, kale, micro-greens and lettuces. Jackie also grows all the herbs we use in the kitchen and brought our peach trees and grape vineyard back to abundance. She also is in charge of the Story Flower Gardens which we invite everyone to visit. When she's done working for us, she goes home and tends her own garden. And she likes to check in and see how her gardens are doing on weekends--watering flower boxes and making sure everything is just so. If you see a slender woman standing out in the pouring rain wearing a water proof jacket and rubber boots and looking quite at home, that's our Jackie.
Frank Mueller, Consultant
Frank Mueller was born on March 23, 1944, in Willingen, Germany, and obtained his degree in restaurant and hotel management from the Walter Mecker Schule in Kassel, Germany, in 1964. He had an apprenticeship at the Hotel Reiss in Kassel, and an internship at the Franz Gabler Hotel Fach Schule in Heidelberg. His experience includes stints at the Hotel Zweibrucker Hof, Dusseldorf, the Heimat Haus and Schloss Hotel in Kassel, the Arnold Grill in Frankfurt and even the Airport Restaurant in Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland. Frank migrated to the United States in 1968, and shortly thereafter began his stewardship of the renowned Hansel and Gretel Restaurant in Indianapolis. After selling the restaurant in 1985, he managed the Indianapolis Athletic Club until 1992, when he took over as manager of the Indianapolis Hilton.
At Rick Hofstetter’s behest in 1993, Frank assumed control of the floundering Rathskeller Restaurant in the historic Athenaeum Building in downtown Indianapolis, and in two years developed it into one of the busiest and most popular restaurants in the city. Frank’s successes and accomplishments in this field would merit his managing a five-star establishment in New York, Berlin or Paris. Frank, however, prefers the quiet charm of the hills and hamlets of Southern Indiana. After Frank retired from the Athenaeum in 1995, Rick enticed Frank to join him in purchasing the entire town of Story in late 1998. Frank sold his interest in the Story Inn to Rick Hofstetter in December, 2004, but continues to be involved as a business and culinary consultant.
Joan Y. Olson, Culinary Consultant
Joan Olson is a laureate of La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in France and has taught classic French cooking for more than twenty years. Much of her training came from her association with some of the most renowned chefs in France—Emile Jung, Paul Haeberlin, Georges Blanc—to name a few. She also worked very closely with the late Gustave Rinn of Alsace and with Wolfgang Nagle and Johann Lummer in Germany. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and of the National Restaurant Association. With her husband, she has produced seven guide books to restaurants in Europe.
Mrs. Olson has prepared and hosted dinners for ambassadors, counts, generals, Michelin-starred chefs, and some of the most prestigious wine producers in France and Germany. She has taught cooking and done cooking demonstrations at Schiller International University in Strasbourg and at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, where she teaches art and produces paintings. Joan lives with her husband Ole (biography below) in nearby Houston, Indiana, and serves as a culinary consultant and cooking instructor at the Story Inn.
Dr. Allen Dale Olson, Consultant, Wine Steward
Dr. Allen Dale (“Ole”) Olson, a/k/a the “Pontiff of Palate,” is a Master of Wine in the Confrerie de St-Etienne and Dean Emeritus of Schiller International University. His wine commentaries inform and entertain from the Rhine Valley to the Napa Valley. His humor is infectious, his enthusiasm contagious, and his wine lessons memorable. He is a founding member of the European and Indiana Chapters of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education and a member of the American Wine Education Society. Ole is a food and wine journalist, a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and with his wife Joan, leads annual food and wine tours to France, Switzerland, and Italy.