Markus Kärst is a host of tradition and passion. Both were given to him in his Bergisch cradle. He is the fifth generation to run a hotel and restaurant business in Remscheid-Lüttringhausen – Hotel Kromberg.
It all began in 1891 with a typical, Bergisch corner pub. Gasthof zum Kreuzberg was a trading post for horses. Accommodation was first provided in the 1950s. Today, the trained chef successfully runs a business with more than 70 employees. “Regardless of whether a hotel, party service, restaurant or snack stand - we now offer our guests in the Bergische Land everything to do with food, drink and accommodation”, says Markus Kärst with pride.
For him, what is typically Bergisch is the slate tiles and green shutters. “We try to bring the slate tone into the restaurant, in that we serve various dishes on traditional slate tiles”, the restaurateur explains. Of course, the Bergische Kaffeetafel (coffee and snacks) is typical for him. And it is only available in this region.
Markus Kärst doesn’t cook much himself these days, which he regrets. He sees his job as full-time manager and coordinator: “I always describe myself as a fireman. Anywhere that something happens, I have to jump in and manage the situation to keep the show on the road”, he explains.
For Markus Kärst, almost everything revolves around the physical well-being of his guests. It should taste delicious. And sustainability is important to him. He likes to use local products – whether in the restaurant, catering or at the snack stand. “We have a lot from Remscheid and the Bergisches Land” he says and adds: “Otherwise, of course, we try to procure as much as possible from Germany.”
Many of the dishes at Hotel Kromberg also have a Bergisch touch. In doing so, the hearty, rustic cuisine of the Bergisch Land is being redefined. It is lighter. More modern. Usually with a Mediterranean influence. Rediscover Bergisch:Kottenschnitzel (pork schnitzel), Bergisch tapas or Krombergs Oller Lachs (pickled salmon).
Anyone who would like to try Pillekuchen (potato pancakes), Schnibbelbohnen (green beans), Kottenbotter (sausage sandwich) etc. prepared in a less traditional way can sizzle with Markus Kärst. The restaurateur offers special cookery courses for this: “Anyone who is interested can come and see how we do it.”
And you can look into his pots online too: “Der Kärst kocht” is a cookery show on rs1.tv, the local magazine show from Remscheid. Available to see on Youtube and NRWision.
“We enjoy being hosts. And we want to provide our guests with a tasteful and fantastic stay”, says Markus Kärst, adding that, as a hotelier, one is always worried about whether the guests feel comfortable.
But it’s not just his guests that are close to Markus Kärst’s heart. The Remscheiders are also very important to him. In 2016, he started the Remscheid Parkfoodfestival. The gourmet festival in the city park will be adding a mountain hut this year. In culinary terms, this will also add Bavarian cuisine to the mix. “We are always trying to bring gastronomic events to Remscheid in order to offer the Remscheiders something new”, Markus Kärst is happy to say. “So people can see that we have a great city. A fantastic region”.