Hans Haus in Elbow Lake known for international cuisine
Location:116 Central Ave. N., Elbow Lake, Minn.
Hours:6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 5 p.m .to 8 p.m. Friday serving International dinner; 8 a.m. to 2 p..m. Sunday.
Known for:International cuisine, including the three-course meal served on International night Fridays from 5 p.m.to 8 p.m. The three-course meal is $10.95.
Call them at(218) 685-4193
ELBOW LAKE, Minn. — Eugen Wittemann’s diners can travel the world in his Elbow Lake restaurant.
The German-born chef offers International cuisine at Hans Haus every Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dinners are served three-course meals starting with soup followed by the main course and dessert.
Wittemann offered an example of one Friday night international delight. He started with white bean soup with sausage and offered several main course choices. Jaeger schnitzel, crispy breaded park with mushroom sauce or rahm bratch, a slow-roasted pork shoulder. He also offered Norwegian whiting in a crispy bread crust and a half-pound New York Steak topped with herb butter.
Another popular offering during the Friday night meal is seafood. It might include grilled shrimp, scallops and a half lobster tail served with lobster sauce.
He offers other special German and Scandinavian delights throughout the week and a full menu of American fare from hamburgers and French fries to chicken strips, he said.
Wittemann has been cooking since he was 12. Wittemann worked at restaurants in Germany, Bermuda, the United States and for two cruise lines. He grew up around Frankfurt and apprenticed as a chef from 1969 to 1972. His first job involved cooking for the German Olympic team during the 1972 games in Munich. It was a scary time as terrorists killed members of the Israeli Olympic team, he said.
After the experience, he traveled to England and later to Bermuda. His work at a premier hotel had him cooking everything from breakfasts to dinners. On Sundays, all the British people were invited to the Governor’s mansion for tea and crumpets, he said.
He moved to Aspen, Colo.,where he worked the winters from 1975 to 2001. He opened his own restaurant, the Weiner Stubel, there in 1998 with two partners. The business was great until 9-11, he said. After the attack, reservations dropped 45 percent in one week. Wittemann knew businesses like his in vacation spots would be slow to recover. He started making calls to his chef friends around the world and found an opening with the Carnival Cruise Line. He also worked for Royal Caribbean.
During his years with the cruise lines, he became friends with Fred Hahn from Wendell, Minn.
Hahn remembered his friend when the Elbow Lake restaurant, The Cattle Club Cafe, was for sale. Wittemann purchased the business as a turnkey operation. He opened for business as Hans Haus, named after his son.
He likes the Elbow Lake area.
"It reminds me of home," he said. "Here, there are the same type of people as there are in Germany and it’s the same type of topography."
He enjoys talking with his customers, especially conversations about the types of German food many of the people in the area remember being served by their families.
Wittemann will be making changes gradually to the restaurant , he said.
He plans to make most of the restaurant’s bread in the future and also does catering. For one local book club event, he made sushi, he said.