The Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter began as a family owned and operated German restaurant nestled in a pine forest of Grant Township in Minnesota. Built in the rolling hills that reminded him of his native Bavaria the Gasthaus is the vision and dream of Karl Schoene and his wife Elizabeth. Immigrating to St. Paul with their family in 1957 Karl and Elizabeth worked and looked for a place to build their dream in America. In 1963, the Schoene’s purchased the land upon which the Gasthaus would later be built.
Construction began a few years later and the Gasthaus was opened in July 1966 with the family moving into that portion of the building now known as the Green Room. Open only on the weekends, Elizabeth did the cooking, Karl the hosting, their daughter Irmgaard serving and assisting wherever needed, and Carl Jr. (12 at the time) provided visitors the opportunity to play his version of a German nail game he called Hammer-Schlagen®. Though Elizabeth was lost in 1971 to cancer, many of her original recipes are still in use at the Gasthaus today. Karl later re-married and Carl Jr. became more involved with cooking and the daily operations of the business. By this time, his nail game was well-known throughout the greater Stillwater area. In 1984, the addition of another dining room was added and known now as the Blue Room. That same year, Carl Jr. met Kim. In 1986, Carl Jr. and Kim married and purchased the business from Karl who then retired but continued hosting his friends and loyal Gasthaus customers. One year later, a tragic fire destroyed the Gasthaus. With the outpouring of community support, friends, family, and customers, Carl Jr. and Kim knew the Gasthaus traditions must continue. They rebuilt the building that stands today and re-opened in May 1988.
Carl Jr. and Kim continued to organized and produce festivals at the Gasthaus, with the Oktoberfest growing into a huge tradition and success. During the many festivities throughout the year, Carl Jr.’s nail game would be present. Kim’s father, Mike Wlaschin, would often run Carl Jr.’s game both at the Gasthaus and elsewhere across Minnesota and western Wisconsin in promotion of the restaurant. The loss of Karl in 1998 brought much sadness from his many friends and customers, and his presence can still be felt in the Gasthaus.
Meanwhile, Mike’s success in his operation of Carl Jr.’s game was followed by the formation of a corporation in 1999, which formally separated Hammer-Schalgen® from the Gasthaus. Yet another devastating loss was brought in 2003 with the sudden passing of Carl Jr., which saddened and shocked all that knew and loved his kind, loving, and gentle ways. Carl Jr. is missed each and every day, especially during Oktoberfest – it was his favorite time of year (except for snowmobiling)! A few years later, Kim re-married Dan. Together with their many loyal staff, they vowed to carry on in Carl Jr.’s spirit to provide the same great food, atmosphere, and Gemütlichkeit that all Gasthaus visitors have come to expect.
Mike also continued on in Carl Jr.’s spirit introducing the masses across the United States to Hammer-Schlagen®. In 2014, Mike retired with his business partner, Jimmy Martin, continuing the operations of the game. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim and Dan decided to retire and the doors of the Gasthaus were shut as the calendar year of 2021 came to a close. But, this was not to be the end as Jimmy re-opened the doors of the Gasthaus in May 2023.
The legacy of the Schoene family survives thanks in large part to the stewardship of Kim, Dan, and the loyalty of countless Gasthaus employees. If it were not for the extraordinary support of the community, the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter would not be what is is today.