The Lexington Collection
Pretty Polly
  Logburners in Foreign Lands


Familie Zauner
(Guest review by Gary Shouse, whole hog cooker and barbecue fan.)

A small village in the mountains of Austria is home to a family famous throughout the land for their grilling and barbecue. Hallstatt has been the home of the 'Familie Zauner' for many generations. For the past four they have operated a restaurant and guesthouse there. The Seewirt located on the tiny Markt Platz of this beautiful village by the Hallstatler See is home to some of the finest cooking in all Austria. Operated by Zep Zauner, whose father was crowned the Grill Konig (Grill King) of Austria by the gastronomists of Vienna, offers a wide variety of Germanic dishes, as well as barbecue. In Austria, where meat is what else but pork, it is cooked over an open flame, sliced, and served without any sauce added. The sauce is up to you; add it if you like, or just enjoy the flavor of the smoke from the open flames.

  The beautiful village of Hallstatt by the Hallstatler See

Zep's great grandmother, so the story goes, opened a bakery in Hallstatt around the middle of the 1800's where she offered a variety of baked goods and breads. As an added bonus (and to help the family finances) she started serving sandwiches using her most excellent breads. And, in a Teutonic area what else goes with a sandwich (or for that matter with any meal) better than Bier (beer)? These little added extras continually got her into trouble with the government officials since she had only a license to operate a bakery, not a Brauerei (brewery) or Schenke (tavern). After numerous bouts with the officials she finally yielded and acquired the necessary licenses. The bakery became a restaurant that continued the tradition of fine sweet breads and foods into the next generation. A guesthouse was added to the restaurant, further complementing the now well established business.

  The Seewirt restaurant is at the far end of the Markt Platz.

The guesthouse and restaurant continued to grow and prosper right up to World War II when all the men of Austria were drafted into military service. Zep's father, then head of this family business, was no exception; drafted into the army he served on the western front until taken a prisoner of war by American forces in 1944. Shipped off to a POW camp on the East Coast of the United States, he learned the fine arts of grilling and barbecue before returning to Hallstatt in late 1946. German and Austrian POWs were used to clean up and rebuild some of the war's destruction. After being released, he again took up the family business and added his newly acquired specialties to the already famous and established menu. Operating today in the same building in which it began, the Seewirt Guesthouse and Restaurant is one of the great gastronomic experiences in Austria.

  The Shouses are greeted at the Seewirt by Zep Zauner.

The family, now about to turn the business over to the fifth generation, greets everyone with good service, great food, and terrific drink (Bier). To enjoy the recipes of the Kaiser und Konig of dining in Austria, visit 'Familie Zauner' at the Seewirt.

Austria: The Land of Mozart and Barbecue!

The Joints Collection