Chef Ellen Gill McCarty says her customers come to Shelbyville’s Science Hill Inn for fried chicken, shrimp and grits or a hot brown. But once a year she likes to get out of the comfort food zone and put on a German feast, complete with goetta balls and pork schnitzel, all paired with beers from Gordon Biersch.

“German food is stick-to-your-ribs type of food and that’s what we enjoy cooking,” said McCarty, who is celebrating Science Hill’s 40th anniversary this year. The Das Meal II on Feb. 23 will feature a five-course meal, co-hosted by her, beer wonk Michael Beckmann and event planner Caroline Knop.

Goetta Balls are part of the first course

“We challenged her a few years ago with the German thing,” said Beckmann, a veteran Louisville restaurant manager. Last year, “(w)hen Ellen did that pork schnitzel, and soaked it in the beer for 24 hours, it came out nice, soft and tasty. You have to go to the Motherland to get stuff like that.”

Das Meal sold out last year, and McCarty has room for 80 for the event. Tickets are $70, a portion of which goes to Apron, Inc., a charity that has a special place in her heart. Apron raises money to help pay restaurant workers’ bills when an unexpected tragedy keeps them from earning a living. (Eat Drink Talk is a proud supporter of Apron!)

Two years ago, McCarty was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and couldn’t work for many months. She’s since become cancer-free.

“The bills piled up and Apron came in and paid some of my bills for me,” she said. “Fighting the fight against cancer and winning was not easy, but having the help of Apron was unbelievable and I want to give back to my fellow friends in the industry assisting them with their battle.”

Each of the five courses will be paired with a Gordon Biersch beer, and dessert includes a special dish incorporating Jagermeister.

Michael Beckmann and Ellen Gill McCarty
Michael Beckmann and Ellen Gill McCarty

Beckmann credits McCarty for the creation of the special menu. “If you challenge her, she comes up with great stuff. The flavors are as good as it gets.”

For those not familiar with Science Hill, it’s located in the historic Wakefield-Scearce building, home to an amazing antique gallery. McCarty says visiting is “truly like walking back in time.”

She said customers come from throughout the region and consider Science Hill a destination. With the growth in the area, including the nearby Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass and other attractions, the restaurant continues to see new customers as well.

“We get people who have been coming for years and they bring their grandchildren, and the grandchildren grow up and bring their children and grandchildren. That’s cool about our place,” McCarty said.

For more information and to make reservations for Das Meal, call 502.633.2825.

To hear Ellen and Michael on the EatDrinkTalk podcast, press the Play Arrow below: