The oldest restaurant in Blankenese from 1733

The oldest restaurant in Blankenese from 1733
A tradition is continued. The Brüchmann family with crew is here to greet you.

“Zum Bäcker“ – a brief chronicle

In 2013 Blankenese‘s oldest restaurant celebrated its 280th anniversary.
Back to tradition
Watching the ships and drinking a beer on Strandweg at the “Bäcker“ – that has been part of Blankenese since the local fisherman’s son and master baker Adolph Lindemann built his own bakery in 1733 on a large plot down by the water. And quickly realised that his fisherman friends were not just wanting bread rolls.
Even in this days it was necessary for young Adolph to apply for a licence to sell beer and brandy,, which he quickly did. His beer garden on the “Vorland“ – the beach in front of the bakery – was an immediate success.
Where the fishermen were sitting, soon became a favourite spot for the whole village. Festivities were held there, on Sundays there was dancing. When the lights went out in the inn, they again went on in the bakery. Young Adolph’s son carried on in his father’s footsteps.
Not until the end of the 18th century did the grandson let the bakery oven go out and concentrated entirely on the inn.

Four generations continued in a similar way. Then came the crisis. Many Blankenese fishermen were out of work, others inns opened. Great-grandson Albert went bankrupt and had to sell up. On 17th December 1847 the village doctor, Waldemar Nissen bought the property at auction for 4350 courantmarks and moved into the house.
The inn became a surgery, the bakery remained cold.
Six years later the doctor sold the property again at a nice profit for 5000 marks to the master baker Carl Wilhelm Borrack and moved to Ottensen. Borrack had the thatched roof replaced with modern roof tiles and called the inn “Zur Linde“. The big hit of his bakery was “Zwieback“ (rusks) – popular as ship’s provisions and emergency rations for lifeboats.
After Borrack's death his heirs sold off the “Linde“ in 1888 for a meanwhile stately sum of 14,000 goldmarks, again to a baker, Rudolf Holtz, who came from the country near Lübeck. Holtz had learned his trade in Nienstedten with Louis Pieper, today’s Landhaus Dill and already a sophisticated address in those days.

He gave the restaurant its present name “Zum Bäcker“. The ancient and weakened lime tree in the east of the plot was replaced by a young tree in the west. In its shade the guests on the terrace still enjoy their cool beer even today. Regular steamer connections from Hamburg and Altona started up, business on Strandweg flourished.
Holtz invested in a complete conversion and in 1910 even replaced the old stone oven behind the house with a new one. His establishment now became popular even with artists.
“When will we be able to sit again and enjoy a grog in your wonderful Blankenese inn?“, Detlev von Liliencron from Rahlstedt asked his fellow-poet Richard Dehmel in a letter dated 10 May 1903. The poet Dehmel lived on the Süllberg. Liliencron often visited him in order to get to the bottom of many a glass in their “very, very cosy“ local.
Rudolf Holtz died of a heart attack on 20 January 1915 on his way home from a bakers’ association meeting.

His widow continued the business, built two terraces and extended the house upwards, but died in 1931, quickly followed by her son and heir Rudolf jun. in 1937. His widowed sister Maria Jannsen-Holtz brought the “Bäcker“ through the war and post-war years until 1950.
Under the management of the brother, Rudolf and then the sister Maria, the “Bäcker“ was regarded by critical freethinkers, including the artist Hans Leip, as a refuge. In 1948 the author Konrad Tegtmeier wrote in his “Blankeneser Tafelrunde“ about the Nazi period in Blankenese: “From then on ... we met on Strandweg, at the “Bäcker” where in times gone by Dehmel, Falke and Liliencron met for a drink. We knew our landlady, Mrs. Jannsen, who was just as lovable and kind in her forbearance as fearless in voicing her opinion, to be our alley, and, because it could not be overlooked that this was a kind of island, like-minded people found their way to our table in those days”.
After the inn stood vacant for more than a year the
landlord Walter Böhme leased the “Bäcker“ in 1952. Together with his wife Frieda he made the restaurant particularly popular beyond the boundaries of Blankenese and Hamburg, thanks to their home-made cakes: cheese gateaux – and incomparably large, freshly caught plaice from the Blankenese fishmonger Breckwoldt. In 1963 Böhme purchased the building from the Jannsen family. Together with his daughter Gisela and her husband Paul Brüchmann, formerly a head waiter in “Schümanns Austernkeller“, Grandfather Böhme managed the business for a long period.
After leases with Mediterranean cuisine and other absolutely stray types of cuisine, Brüchmann's grandson Manfred, known simply “by the coast” as Manne,
took over the business in spring 2010 with his wife Birgit and daughter Maria. The family had already been living on the top floor above the restaurant for many years, and then renovated the it with a great deal of good taste and love of detail. The old tiles in the guest parlour were preserved and are complemented by lime-washed wood, warm grey shades. Historic photos illustrate the history of the former fishermen’s inn, contemporary pictures show life today by and on the mighty Elbe river. Cosy recluses and a modern bar-counter are inviting places to linger in the main parlour or on the sheltered terrace. Light-flooded rooms on the first floor offer plenty of space for private celebrations. Just like in days gone by, fresh, seasonal cuisine, fish from the proprietor’s own nets (sailor and sailmaker Manne has had a fishing licence since 1995), home-made gateaux and cake from the try supplement the menu.

Manne often comes up with specialities for special occasions. When the Easter bonfires blaze on the beach, he serves juicy lamb. If at the weekend there are sailing regattas on the Mühlenberger Loch, he presents his “Regatta Breakfast”. And if the "Queen Mary II" or another famous cruise ship happens to by passing, the guests at the “Bäcker” can enjoy a box seat accompanied by a four-course “Captain’s Farewell Dinner”.

Compiled by the "Norddeutsche Nachrichten" (Kröger Druck Blankenese), revised by Susanne Opatz, refined and abridged by FACTORY HAMBURG GMBH, that remarks as follows on “Blankenese‘s oldest inn": Bad luck for Manne that there is still the “Alte Flöte” in the Koppel by Hamburg’s Central Station. The "Ohle Fleit", today a Portuguese restaurant, originates from 1661. Without this, the "Bäcker" dating from 1733 would presumably be the oldest inn in the whole of North Germany.

Compiled by the Norddeutsche Nachrichten(Kröger Druck Blankenese) and revised by Susanne Opatz