Jägerhaus, the iconic Orange County German restaurant in Anaheim, closed on December 12 after more than 40 years of service. The closure comes shortly after owner and manager Sandie Schwaiger passed away in October. Schwaiger led Jägerhaus for over 21 years.
“It was beautiful even though it was so sad,” Kay Jones, Schwaiger’s longtime friend and interim owner of the Schwaiger estate, said of the restaurant’s final dinner service.
The restaurant was in talks with the Anaheim Planning Commission as early as 2019 to prevent the location from being turned into a 24-hour 7-Eleven gas station and car wash by a Los Angeles-based developer.
“We have really tried really hard not to allow this center to become a car wash,” Jones said. “Sandie was adamant about it because there were small businesses in this center that really had no other option. And the owners behind the center were beside themselves because it’s one thing to have a quiet little business center behind your house, but to have a car wash and 7-Eleven with traffic and noise. and all ?
The mall is home to six other small businesses besides Jägerhaus, owned by residents, such as New Look Beauty Salon, Melchor Bakery, and Ace Flower Shop. All are now faced with displacement.
Jägerhaus opened in 1979. Schwaiger and her then-husband Anton took over the restaurant in 1990.
“Anton was a German chef and Sandie was of German descent,” Jones said. “When they got divorced he didn’t want the restaurant, so Sandie kept the restaurant.”
The restaurant had a full menu that served traditional German dishes like goulash szegdiner and holstein cutlet, based on recipes that date back seven generations in Germany. The restaurant also notably served beers from two of the oldest breweries in the world, with the lager Weihenstephan (founded in 1040) and Weltenburger (founded in 1050) on draft.
Jones said Schwaiger’s hospitality has become a mainstay of the Jägerhaus dining room.
“Sandie just had the sparkle and she brought it to everyone in her world,” Jones said.
Jägerhaus was not just a restaurant but a pillar of the Anaheim community. Los Amigos of Orange County, a group of Latino activists, held regular meetings there.
“People brought their grandchildren here when they came as young people,” Jones said. “We were part of so many family memories.”
Attempts to move were unsuccessful. Jones said the restaurant was notified in November to leave by the New Year. At that time, Jones had not yet been appointed executor.
“I couldn’t name a day and a time to shut down the business,” Jones said. “We knew – the employees and everyone knew we were going to have to leave by January 1, but we didn’t know what day we were going to be able to close until I got it.”
Then, on December 12, the restaurant announced its closure on social media, stating that tonight would be Jägerhaus’s last dinner service. The send, Jones said, was bittersweet.
“Sunday was horrible, and yet it was beautiful,” Jones said. “The outpouring of love for Sandie was amazing. It was just wave after wave of love for her and the restaurant that meant so much to her.
Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.