American Girl in a German Deli

Guten Tag, Greetings & Aloha,

Welcome to my first Blog! I’m a young woman whose new daily task is to take a German item (snack, drink, dessert or whatever) and write about it.

       How this task fell in my lap you may ask? Well my story begins 7 years ago when I applied for a job in a small family owned German restaurant in the Historic District of Downtown Sanford Florida. I had just graduated High School & this was my first job. I became the dishwasher for Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café.  At the time it was just a little café with a cozy atmosphere that smelled (quite nicely) of sauerkraut and sausages.  Apparently the owner’s Theo & Linda noticed my good work & the helpful relationship I had with the guys in the kitchen. During the time I had been washing dishes I had learned a few of the stations in the kitchen and I was always eager to lend a hand in a pinch.

       One afternoon Theo stepped into the dish pit and we started talking, he told me that he thought I would make a great server. I started at him for a moment then started laughing thinking it was a joke, oops. Why would he want me to do that, after all I didn’t really know anything about German food except that it tasted good and was different than anything I’d had growing up.

       Over the years Theo found ways to place me in different jobs all over the restaurant, Jack of all trades & a master of none…that was me. Theo did eventually get me out on the floor with the guests whenever the opportunity presented itself but at least by that time I had a better idea about the food. I would often joke with my guests that I had eaten my way through the menu. Yet still when I would get the age old question “What is your favorite thing on the menu?” I always had to pause because I really did like almost everything on the menu!  I found out from my experience working with guests that the first question I had to ask was “Are you familiar with German food?” if the answer was no then I had a better idea where to start for a recommendation.  As is the way with all suggestions, some are taken and others aren’t.  And as many times as my recommendation was a good one there would be the few who were less than pleased (occasionally quite vocally) with the meal.

       Bringing us up to today I was promoted and moved to the Hollerbach’s new German deli.  “Magnolia Square Market” is my new adventure. Gone are the days of running back and forth with hot plates of fragrant German dishes, or standing at the hostess stand in the heat of summer. I am now Theo’s administrator & assistant.  Parked at my desk with my awesome double monitors I am learning more new things than ever and trying to keep my head from bursting with all the new information.

       I think Theo saw the glazed look I got one morning when I came in and started looking at all the new products that were being put into the display case.  I had skipped breakfast and there were several things on display that made me regret not getting out of bed 15mins earlier for a bowl of oatmeal. Then later that afternoon, in the standard Theo fashion he came up to me with this great idea that I’m to start a blog about an Americans take on German foods. I just stared at him for a minute; it was like Déjà vu only this time I didn’t burst out into laughter. It is a good idea after all, and I do love to try new kinds of food.

I guess this could be a match made in heaven. So starting tomorrow I will be writing my first post about a great German product from our deli!


18 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Marci said,

    Hello! Can’t wait to read more of your blogging. I was stationed in Eastern Germany for a bit and fell in love with all things German. (Maybe the fact that I’m partly German has something to do with it?) I was searching for German restaurants on the Internet when I found Hollerbach’s and I insisted on my mom and I making the long trek to Sanford just to check it out. It was well worth the effort!!! I will be back and I can’t wait to check out the deli.

    • 2

      Hi Marci! First and foremost thank you for your service! My Grandfather was stationed in Germany when my Dad was younger and I love hearing some of the memories my Dad has. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you & your Mom when your able to come in and see everything I talk about. It seems every morning when I walk into the store we have boxes laying around with all kinds of great new things try!

  2. 3

    Russ said,

    I am so excited to finally get to check out Theo’s deli!

    • 4

      If you can’t visit everyday like me 🙂 We have a page on Facebook, that way you can keep up to date on happenings in the market and a lot of the new products that we have coming in!

  3. 5

    Karen said,

    It seems like a lifetime since we lived for seven years in Germany as a military family. ‘Saw the article in today’s Orlando Sentinel about Theo’s new market. Whee!! Cannot wait to return to kaffeetrinken time and a taste of fleischwurst w/brotchen!!

  4. 7

    Phil Hale said,

    Theo’s one smart strudel for hiring you for this job. We too have been anxiously awaiting the market’s opening and will be up tomorrow for lunch and Gemulichkeit ( I KNOW you know that word in German!) 🙂
    Was stationed in Germany twice, once at the embassy in Bad Godeberg (Bonn) and the second time in Karlsruhe. Son was born there almost 40 years ago. I miss it, but thanks to Theo It’s just a few miles north of Union Park. Auf Weidersehn Bis Morgan

  5. 9

    Carmen said,

    I was so excited to see the article in today’s Orlando Sentinel as well, about Theo’s new Market opening! My grandmother(who had a brother named Theo) is German..born and raised in Hamburg,also my mother and aunt who all live here in Orlando. Years ago when I was growing up the only German store I remember, was in the Fashion Square mall,Dunderbaks..I think. Now my grandmother,who’s 92, orders things to get what she remembers eating in her country! I can’t wait to bring her in for lunch and shopping, she will be thrilled!!!

  6. 11

    Birgit said,

    I am from Germany,finally us germans can buy some produkts that remind us of home. Can’t wait to come up and shop in your store. Danke schoen Birgit

  7. 12

    susan seeger said,

    shopped several times already and its great when xmas gets here it will be great for gifts

  8. 14

    Margaret Calvano said,

    Can’t wait to visit the market. The pictures of your sausages, cheeses, and bread make me salivate! There’s a recipe I’m been waiting to make but it requires “quark” and I know of no place where I can buy that cheese. Possibly, you carry that product?

    • 15

      Thank you Margaret I’m glad you like my pictures! We actually carry two kinds of Quark, Regular & Low Fat and I just sent out and order yesterday to refresh our stock, feel free to give us a call before you come down and we’ll let you know how many we have.

  9. 16

    Terry Selg said,

    Being previously married to a German and living in the country for 5yrs (near Stuttgart) I grew accustomed to the delicious food I ate on a daily basis….the sausages, the breads, the kase spaetzle and the list goes on and on. I, like Margaret, have been searching for quark as well because I love the german cheesecakes because it’s light and not as sweet as the Americans (we eat way to much sugar). Over here in Yalaha there is a german bakery who have given me hints on how to make quark (cream cheese/sour cream) but I’m sure it’s not as good as the real thing. Next time I’m in Sanford (living in Mt. Dora now) I’ll have to swing by the deli and check out what you have. Till then, keep up the good work.

  10. 17

    Walter Gunn said,

    I and my family love love love Willow Tree Cafe. My family and I spent over 6 years in Germany until I retired and absolutely loved the country and the people AND the food. My (11 year old) grandson usually share the Schlacthaus Platte fur Zwei and my other family members usually have some type of Schnitzel. We have been coming for years although I have not been for quite some time. Almost a year ago I had a tremendously serious operation with a very time consuming recovery. I am doing pretty well and am hoping to get out to both the Willow Tree and Magnolia Square. One of my best memories of Willow Tree is both a happy and sad one. My wife was in the hospital and before we went to see her I took the kids and grandkids to Willow Tree. We had our usual wonderful time and we took a plate to the hospital for my wife. She was touched and when eating was making what we used to call little piggy noises because it was so good. It was a lot longer after this that my beatiful and wonderful wife of 37 years passed. I am glad we have this memorie with her. Thank you for all that you do and I don’t mean just food. Thanks again.

  11. 18

    Bitty Martin said,

    Walter Gun, you made me cry, lost both my parents a few years ago, they were married in 1951 in England, Mom was British Army, Dad Us Army. We lived in Germany from age 2 to 4, then we went back when I was 7 and stayed till I was 19, Mom and Dad stayed an additional 6 years after that. When people ask me where I’m from I say Germany. Went to the Willow tree last night for the first time, it was like being home, and then to the Market, where I felt like a little kid as my eyes twinkled and sparkled with joy at all my old favorites, and my basket got fuller and fuller.. they say never shop when you are hungry, Ha, I was stuffed with excellent German food and shopped like I had not eaten in many days…

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