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Dishing up surprises

Dishing up surprises

Dishing up surprises

During lunch at Gasthaus Ziegler, Andrea and Wolfgang Saaler serve dishes made from regional ingredients to their guests and the craftspeople of the Bregenzerwald.

This tavern was never designed to be just “ordinary.” Instead, the staff have a different vision, one that includes hosting events such as weddings, corporate parties, christenings or press conferences. No matter the event, the main goal is that there is plenty going on in the Ziegler’s halls and garden. On the plates, Käsknöpfle cheese spaetzle steams appetisingly while homemade peach iced tea is available at the counter. The long, plain wooden tables are pleasantly full, whilst a cheerful midday calm fills the large, bright hall. For many craftspeople in the Bregenzerwald, lunch at the Ziegler in Bersbuch is a regular and popular part of their working day lives. Since 1901, the Ritter tavern, referred to as “Ziegler” even then, has occupied a central position at this crossroads where the middle and upper Bregenzerwald region meet.

In February 2020, Andrea and Wolfgang Saaler assumed tenancy of the renovated tavern. “It was the perfect time,” says Andrea with a dry, ironic laugh. The first coronavirus lockdown meant that the restaurant had to be closed again already by mid-March. “Soon, however, requests started coming in from craftspeople asking if we could deliver lunches to their construction sites. Before we knew it, we were really busy again!” With the flexibility to adapt to change, the couple’s many years of catering experience soon paid dividends. The pair from Allgäu and Bregenz met at the catering department of Messe Friedrichshafen trade fair, where Wolfgang cooked and Andrea worked in the restaurant area and in management. “The plan was never to run just an ‘ordinary inn.’ What we really excel at is organising events: Irrespective of whether it’s in the halls and garden of the ‘Ziegler’ or on a green field somewhere in the Bregenzerwald.”

After founding the company S-LINE Gastronomie, they began managing the Werkraum Haus in Andelsbuch in 2015 as their first project in the Bregenzerwald. In their private lives, the Saalers have become quite proud of their adopted homeland. With their three children, they have made their home in Bizau since 2017. Their affection for the Bregenzerwald is also reflected in their lunch and catering menus: Andrea Saaler sources as many products as possible from regional farms and vegetable growers. This ensures that she’s always well stocked with local beef, fish and potatoes, seasonal fruits and vegetables. The menu is constantly adapted to the season and the range of food on offer. From red cabbage to stewed plums, the couple cook in their own kitchen and according to their own recipes. “We often go weeks without offering French fries or schnitzel on our lunch menu,” says Andrea with a proud grin. “Instead, every now and then, we offer people small portions of things they might not otherwise try.”

Author: Babette Karner
Issue: Bregenzerwald Travel Magazine – Summer 2023