New Brunswick

Schnitzel Haus restaurant says auf wiedersehen after nearly 30 years

The Schnitzel Haus restaurant is saying auf wiedersehen after close to 30 years in business in Aulac.

Hannalore and Alwin Zerb make difficult decision to retire, close family's German cuisine business in Aulac

Hannalore Zerb (left) and her daughter Alexandra Hunter said it's been difficult telling their customers they're closing their Schnitzel Haus restaurant. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

The Schnitzel Haus restaurant is saying auf wiedersehen after close to 30 years in business in Aulac.

The German restaurant, located near the Nova Scotia border, has been a family affair, started by Alwin and Hannalore Zerb.

Their daughter Alexandra Hunter says the restaurant business is all she remembers.

"It was a long time and it was a good road," she said. "We've pretty much been in the business forever."

Hunter says the family decided to introduce authentic German cuisine to the small New Brunswick community.

"A lot of people wanted to try the German food and we would introduce it to them and they would come back and come back and come back, so we had a good experience with that," she said.

Her mother's schnitzel became a favourite.

But Hunter says the family had to make the difficult decision to close the doors because her parents wanted to retire.

She says the restaurant took all of their time — from shopping and prepping to cooking and serving.

She and her brother are unable to take on the family business due to health issues.

Grateful for support

Breaking the news to loyal customers was difficult.

"Some of the older persons were actually hugging me and crying, so they were very sad about it." said Hunter.

"Other people told me how sad they were [that] we were closing they're going to miss us very much."

Hannalore Zerb says at 68, it's time to hang up her apron.

She says its sad, but she's thankful for all the customers who supported her family over the years.

Maybe I go to the Farmer's Market and we'll have some spatzle there, some schnitzel for them. I will see, you know … after a while.- Hannalore Zerb, owner

Zerb says she was never able to take time off, especially in the summer.

And she's ready to do the one thing she's never had time to do.

"I will go to the beach, that's for sure. I will relax some."

But Zerb says foodie fans likely haven't seen the last of her.

"Maybe I go to the farmer's market and we'll have some spatzle there, some schnitzel for them. I will see, you know … after a while," she said.

Some of the many beer mugs that will be available for sale at the Schnitzel Haus on Saturday. (Kate Letterick/CBC)
Meanwhile the family is busy packing up 30 years of memories.

Alexandra Hunter says she's surprised by how many people have stopped in to buy a small piece of the Schnitzel Haus.

"We were going to have a yard sale on Saturday, but I'm afraid if this keeps on, there might be nothing left. Because they bought already the whole kitchen and the table," she says.

"We've [still] got a lot of beer mugs, a lot of flowers and knickknacks, so hopefully there's some left by Saturday."

As she looks around the restaurant, Hunter has one last message for her customers.

"It was good to know that they cared about us so much and that made us feel good."