MUNICH: I meet with Markus and Stephanie Thatenhorst, the power couple behind some of the most successful and inspiring bars and restaurants in Munich. Surprisingly, each of the venues is totally different from the others and you wouldn’t see a connection were it not for the relaxed atmosphere and impeccable food and service.
I asked them how this shared passion for gastronomy and architecture works.
You are the owners of six restaurants and bars in Munich, each with a different story. What is special about each place?
First of all it is very special that all six of them are completely different in concept and interior. You can say that the more exclusive the area, surroundings and building, the simpler the concept. The more difficult and unspectacular the place, the more exclusive is the ambience. For example, Kaisergarten has a very pretty setting next to an old church with a lovely garden in a beautiful old house. But the concept is very simple Bavarian.
On the other hand is our new Theresa Bar placed in the backyard of an unattractive building. Therefore it has the most exclusive interior of all our restaurants.
Also, over the years we have become more brave and cosmopolitan as you can see with our youngest project Theresa Bar.
Where do both of you find inspiration for food, interior etc.?
We travel a lot and find inspiration on city trips like Copenhagen, London and New York. We also keep our eyes open on holidays when we travel with our children to the countryside or seaside. Over the years we have developed emotions for trends and fashion. Sustainability is very important for us.
How are the stories reflected in the interior?
Concept and interior have to be one unit! All our stories are structured from A to Z, it always has to be a coherent package and a golden thread has to run through the whole thing.
Does each venue have a signature dish / menu relating to the message?
Of course! Seerose is well known for its homemade pasta, Kaisergarten stands for the Wiener Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn, Theresa Grill for its meat from the wood fired grill and at Occam Deli we serve a typical original New York deli dish: pastrami sandwich. Freebird and the newly opened Theresa Bar offer several signature drinks.
How important is architecture and interior design for you?
In gastronomy three things are very important: the interior/ambiance, the quality of the food/drinks and the service. You won’t have success if one element is not good.
But we also know that the interior/ambiance give the guest the most impulses. Therefore architecture and interior design is very important for both of us, for our own as well as for foreign projects.
For me (Steffi), architecture and interior design are an absolute passion.
I love to give objects (not only restaurants) a soul. Especially in restaurants we believe that the guests can feel this kind of soul. In our opinion that makes the difference between good and bad gastronomy.
What is next on your agenda?
We are renovating an old shed at our parents’ farm near lake Chiemsee. We have a very fast-paced life during the week and need to slow down on the weekends urgently to spend more time with our children.
Working together as a couple with different talents must be great. Do you have a personal advice for this kind of family business?
You can’t really give general advice here. In our case it helps a lot that we have different talents and skills and therefore different tasks. The quality of the relationship decides whether it works or not. Also confidence and respect in each other is very important.
We are very lucky that most of the time we have the same taste… and we share the same passion for gastronomy and architecture.