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. Rick can be reached at email@example.com.
Kevin Allen, General Manager
Kevin Allen's passion for food is evident from the structure of the dinner menu, as well as from the presentation of the plates which appear on the tables each evening. Behind the scenes, Kevin's passion for kitchen organization and orderliness is also much in evidence, to Rick's satisfaction.
Kevin is an accomplished multi-tasker. He designed the "Big Doc" smoker behind the Inn, and on Saturdays during warm weather he can be seen stoking "Big Doc" with locally-cut hickory and cherry wood in an effort to create his latest iteration of Hoosier-smoked pork shoulder or lamb chops. Kevin, raised in northern Indiana, hails from a line of farmers, and is particularly fond of beef, pork, venison, lamb, bison, walleye, bluegill, quail, scallops, turkey, small and largemouth bass, veal, crawfish, oysters, alligator, rabbit, crappie, shrimp and the occasional suckling pig. He regards veganism as a "social disease" which can be "cured" with a careful therapy of fire, smoke, brown sugar and spices properly applied to the various carcasses.
Kevin is actually trained in the civil engineering and land surveying fields. He discovered his passion for food from campfire experiences, holiday meals in grandma's kitchens and ubiquitous Indiana backyard fire pit (pronounced "far-peeit") cookouts. Nothing quite peaks the appetite as a day on a cold shield lake in northern Ontario, or a day tromping through the wooded hills of Appalachia surveying pipelines. "There's no better motivator than appetite", he says.
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. 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.
Eric Swanson, Executive Chef. Eric, a native of Richmond, Indiana, moved to Bloomington in 1998, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in English from Indiana University, and discovered his passion for food, seasonal produce and country living. Eric, who joined us in early 2014, comes to us with more than a dozen years of kitchen experience. He carries his own set of knives (the mark of a great chef) and is an extraordinary addition to Story's venerable kitchen staff. Eric lives with his wife and three daughters on a small farmstead.
Lisa Morrison, Director of Events and Catering. Lisa books all of the Story Inn's weddings, parties and special events. She handles each of these events from inception to conclusion. Her strongest gifts are her relentless attention to details, creative ideas and a wonderful ability to establish rapport with brides and their families. Lisa brings several decades of experience in the hospitality and entertainment industry as she was a well-know radio personality for twenty years. She's enthusiastic and committed to making any event at Story the best ever. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-361-8023
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.