Local Business Spotlight: Otto & Anita's Bavarian Restaurant
This month we are speaking with Lisa Mangarin, Operating Manager of Otto and Anita's Bavarian Restaurant. This small family-owned and operated schnitzelhaus brings big heart and flavor to SW Portland from Northern Bavaria.
Phil: I was so happy to find amazing German food in SW Portland. How long has the restaurant been in Multnomah Village?
Lisa: My parents opened the Schnitzelhaus in 2003. My Father, Chef Otto Fennerl, was classically trained in Germany at the age of 14 and eventually moved to Portland. He was at the Benson Hotel for nine years and then the Executive Chef at the restaurant Trianon for 23 years. After another partnership on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy called Chef Ottos, we opened up Otto & Anita's. My father still cooks everything himself, and my mother stills bakes all the pastries herself as well.
Phil: They still cook everything themselves? You mean with help?
Lisa: No I mean just the two of them! They still do all the shopping, prepping, cooking, baking, cleaning, dishes, and garbage themselves. I manage the serving and bookkeeping but they do all of the work in the kitchen themselves. My mother raised all four kids and then joined my dad for the last seven years at the Trianon. She is totally self-taught from German cook books and practice.
Phil: The pastries are amazing. Seems like the Dill Pickle Soup is a big hit as well right?
Lisa: Haha! Yes the Dill Pickle Soup is very popular. In fact, we can't even open the doors each day without it. Chef Otto made it one day as a pure joke for a customer who kept asking for it every time he would come in. Finally he made it for him so he would stay out of the kitchen, and now the joke is on him because he has to make it everyday! But people absolutely love it.
Phil: How has the restaurant been affected this last year?
Lisa: Being a very very small family-run business we have survived by our very loyal customers who come in every single week. We were able to shift to take-out right away but we were worried because schnitzel is something people want to eat right away you know? We didn't know if it would travel well. In early Summer we took two weeks off to figure things out and update our website. Unfortunately we had one server with us for 12 years who was let go and we can't wait until he can come back. One of the big parts of our business were all the clubs that use our banquet room. We had the Lions, Kiwanis, Austrian Club, etc. all using the banquet room. We are doing indoor dining now but with only a few tables. We are old-school where people still have to call in to order something, and take-out will be a bigger part of business now I'm sure. We're looking forward to events around town coming back soon as well because we try to do everything we can for the community. We support Neighborhood House and churches with bake sales and Christmas Bazaars. We made it though. What a year! I'm very blessed to have the family that I have and the community that we're a part of! Thank you!
Otto & Anita's Bavarian Restaurant is at 3025 SW Canby St, Portland. 503.452.1411 - More Info at OttoandAnitas.com