Popular traditional restaurant “Stalburg” in Frankfurt closes

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The restaurant, founded in 1879, will close at the end of the year. The Stalburg theater is also up to its neck in water. But something new is being planned: “pro-North.”

Frankfurt – The traditional restaurant “Zur Stalburg” will close at the end of the year. This means Nordend is losing one of its last remaining historic and charismatic restaurants. Opened 144 years ago, the garden restaurant has shaped the cityscape as well as nightlife and culture, including the attached Stalburg theater. The stage is not affected by the closure, but the theater is not doing well financially either, as director Michael Herl explained over the weekend.

Herl reported that the operating company “Zur Stalburg GmbH” had made the decision to close due to the desperate financial situation, a “sensible business decision”, and stressed: “It was no longer possible.” The restaurant was no longer making enough money. The layoffs were announced Friday to about 25 employees.

“Stalburg” in Frankfurt concludes: “You don’t drink enough”

The Stalburg always enjoyed an excellent reputation. “The kitchen is still in very good condition,” says Herl, “everything is organic.” But for some time now (and not just since the coronavirus) the restaurant has only been busy at peak times. Additionally, beverage sales have declined. “You don’t drink enough, but that’s how you make money,” says Herl. Money that the guests apparently don’t have either. “Or I don’t want to spend more.” This is how it is now in most economies. Then there’s VAT on food in restaurants, which will rise again to 19 percent at the end of the year, following a temporary reduction during the coronavirus break. “It will affect many others as well.”

Michael Herl in summer in the “Stalburg” garden. © christoph boeckheler*

An exhibition has just started at the “Stalburg” bowling alley showing designs for a completely new layout of this venue. Students from the University of Applied Sciences demonstrated what would be possible in an ideas competition. These designs will not be realized, but something will surely happen on the square between Glauburgstrasse and Humboldtstrasse. The talks have already advanced to some extent. “We will do something to protect the far north,” Herl announced in the summer. This is essential because nothing has happened to the building for 50 years.

Gentrification in the far north: the usual public displaced to the outskirts

And the theater? “It has nothing to do with the closure,” says Herl, but in Frankfurt everyone knows that the theater business is not basically a bed of roses: this is precisely why the open-air festival “Stoffel” was founded in the summer , to give the theater a helping hand. But it only helps up to a point. More and more often he hears people from the regular public say that they now live too far away and come to Stoffel “sometimes”, but no longer five times a week. It’s also an effect of gentrification, which has made the Far North unaffordable for many people with normal incomes. “And those who now live inside often do not understand the spirit of Stoffel, the spirit.” “They just don’t understand this old 15th century cabin.” The Stalburg, documented on site since 1415, was once a noble estate.

A fundraising campaign for the theater is underway (stalburg.de). Herl hopes there is no need to worry about the restaurant employees who have been laid off: “They are great people, they will find work elsewhere.” But not one like Stalburg.

The entire Stalburg project, says Herl, founder of the theater and a regular smoker on the terrace, is not in danger. “Something is happening in the future.” But starting in January the restaurant will be empty for the moment. Until then, there’s still a chance to show how much the pub crowd can drink these days. (Thomas Stillbauer)

The lack of workers, the increase in costs and the drop in demand worry hoteliers, especially now that we are in high season. Several hundred workers are missing.

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