Stillwater, Minn. (May 1, 2023) -- Known throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin for only serving authentic German fare, the beloved Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter is expected to reopen its 240 person capacity dining and banquet halls to the public this month sometime after Mothers’ Day.
Founded by Bavarian native Karl Schoene and his wife Elizabeth in 1966, their German-born son Carl Jr. grew up in the business and became heavily involved in its operations after his mother’s passing in 1971. Carl Jr. later took over the business in 1986 upon marrying his wife Kim (Wlaschin). After the passing of Karl in 1998 and Carl Jr. in 2003, Kim continued the Gasthaus’ traditions and festivities, including Waldfest, Oktoberfest, and Christkindlmarket. She later remarried Dan Quade in 2005 and the two operated the Gasthaus until their decision to retire in 2021 closed its doors.
Surviving great tragedies, the Gasthaus has been more of a community venture than a business. After fires and a tornado razed the site causing reconstruction, the community donated memorabilia, mugs, and other décor to bring back the warm and homey feeling that is the Gasthaus. Adult customers who first visited with their school’s German classes made the trek from Duluth and Mankato to visit. And, patrons even came to commune with the goats and chickens living on the property. Bicyclists, too, stopped at the Gasthaus for a Hefe (an unfiltered beer) while out riding on the trails.
Enter the Hammer-Schlagen® nail driving game that Carl Jr. started in his youth: local visitors to the Gasthaus would often try their hand at it. The restaurant’s presentation of Carl Jr.’s game at festivities held on its grounds popularized the game across Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the late-1980’s, Kim’s father Mike Wlaschin took over the game, and he eventually formed a corporation in 1999 which introduced Hammer-Schlagen® to the nation. Upon his retirement in 2014, his business partner Jimmy Martin took over the brand. Today, Hammer-Schlagen® is known across the world with European media outlets (like London’s SquareMeal) citing Carl Jr. as its creator nodding to its origins at the Gasthaus.
“From the schnitzels and potato salad recipes brought from the old country by Elizabeth to the beer and wine once imported from Bavaria by Karl,” says Martin, “I intend for the Gasthaus to operate the same as it always has been. The traditional Bavarian hospitality, authentic cuisine, and old-world customs that Minnesotans and Wisconsinites have come to cherish and love has been preserved all these years by Kim and Dan. It’s an honor to be chosen by them as the next steward of these traditions.” Says Kim Quade, “And, it’s great to see Hammer-Schlagen® and the Gasthaus operating under a single owner again after being separated for over a quarter of a century!”
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