Finally, “Mando” for everyone

This is the end after 54 years – at least for now: Carmen and Jürgen Schwartz are closing the Balzer restaurant in Schröck – better known by the village name “Mando”. Why? “For health reasons,” says Carmen Schwartz. The last regular opening day is on Sunday, December 12. And then everyone can still get their own personal “Mando” piece. Because the “Gaststättenfleamarkt” takes place every day from 15:00 to 20:00 from Monday to 22 December. “We sell everything from decorations to utensils and trinkets to furniture, including everything else that has accumulated over the past few decades,” says Carmen Schwartz.

She and her husband Jürgen have been running the restaurant for a good two decades. “Obviously, it is extremely difficult for us to let the visitors go,” says Carmen Schwartz. She is too rooted in the village, loves communication – and has always kept up the ‘I don’t say’ tradition, she says, and so there are also ‘traditional kitchen classics’ that are no longer on the menu. And “Mando” is also a club restaurant with “two to three clubs”.

She will also lack positive stress. “Like yesterday evening: the booth was full, both receipt boards were full – then I always search, plan, organize and coordinate to keep everything running. And when you understand everything, the guests are satisfied and the feedback is positive – it’s a great feeling, I will miss it. “

However, she will not be short of responsibility: “Now I can let it go with peace.” There is also a lot of sadness among the guests. It was also due to the special service, “when regular customers came my husband put his drink on the table before they were seated,” says Carmen Schwartz. In general, her husband made an effort to accommodate all his guests’ requests for drinks – from wine to whiskey. “Everything but Jägermeister – because she hates him.”

The couple are still working

Melancholy is probably also limited as the couple remain loyal to the restaurant. Because: Former trainee Sinan Alobaidi takes over the restaurant – and Carmen and Jürgen Schwartz will be at his side as employees for 450 euros. “But it’s also good to just call it a day.” It also means that the couple are moving out of the apartment above the restaurant, making room for Sinan and his wife Noor and their two children. “We’re moving into a guesthouse that we will continue to run,” says Carmen Schwartz.

For Sinan, the path to becoming a chef in Germany, and in Schröck in particular, was not easy. He fled Iraq in 2015, came with his family in a rubber dinghy, “which had a hole, so we had to throw all our luggage overboard,” he recalls. The family came to Germany via the Balkan road, and after stops in Berlin and Gießen, they ended up in Moischt. “I was a chef in Iraq but it is not recognized here.”

So Alobaidi did an internship with Carmen Schwartz. They also offered him an apprenticeship. “But I wanted to see something different,” he says. So he started studying in a pheasant house – but he ended there after six months. “It took forever to travel by bus from Richtsberg to Gisselberg,” he says.

Chef Sinan is an internet star

Since he was also learning German in the evenings, he needed more time – and knocked on Carmen Schwartz’s door again. They trained “Boss Sinan” as it is called on the Internet. And during the exam, the Iraqi faced quite a challenge: “During my studies, I always had a problem that I don’t eat pork.” But in the practical test “everyone got beef, lamb or poultry – only I had to prepare the boar.” it’s the best dish of the day. “

And when the Schwartz family offered their ex-intern to take over the restaurant, he didn’t hesitate long after getting the funding. So, from February, there will be Arabic cuisine in Mando. Will it work? “Of course,” Sinan is sure, “when we offered Arabic week here, it was always packed.” He also wants to satisfy requests – even without a schnitzel. And: On the Internet alone, he has 745,000 followers on YouTube. “There will be guests,” he says, laughing.

Author: Andreas Schmidt

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