The in Brandon held its June 8 ribbon-cutting with representatives from the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce in attendance to welcome and support the efforts of proprietors Margitta and Holger Engel.
Below is a reprint of in the community, which originally ran Jan. 5, 2012:
They've only been in America for one year, but already Holger and Margitta Engel are copying the success they built in a lifetime in Berlin.
The couple came to the United States one year ago last month and has spent the last year putting together their newest restaurant venture, , at 526 Oakfield Drive.
After years of running their own restaurant, Engel's Party Service, in the German capital, the couple decided to join their son, Bo, and Margitta's sister, who live in Riverview, by moving to Brandon. They often vacationed here and liked what they saw in the Greater Brandon area.
"We love it here," Holger Engel says. "The people are so nice, and the weather is much better than Berlin. I don't see much difference in the restaurant business, so work has been easy for us. People have been great, and they come back with their friends. The next German restaurant isn't for 25 miles, so I can say, 'I have the best German restaurant in town.' "
The couple have always found the respite from the hustle and bustle of Berlin comforting.
It wasn't long after their move that Holger Engel was helping his son at , 401 South Parsons Ave., which Bo co-owns and operates with Darren Dennington.
The 52-year-old Engel was learning Brandon's taste preferences and planned to apply what he had learned to his own operation, which the couple had been seeking and found in the former location.
"The landlord gave me the lease to this place on my birthday," Holger Engel said. "This building is wonderful, and our customers really seem to like what we have here. We are here for the next five years, and I think, 'Why would I change locations?' This place is perfect for right now, maybe in five years it will be different."
After seeing Berlin go from a divided east and west to a unified city and experiencing the hectic lifestyle of such a large metropolis, the pair are happy with what they are doing now in Brandon.
The decor at Taste of Berlin is completely original, with Holger hanging his own aerial photos of Berlin and Margitta creating a newspaper collage that extends through the back hallway and into the bathrooms.
"We have been working on this place everyday, painting walls and decorating," Margitta Engel said. "I got all of these old German newspapers, and I glued and shellacked them to the walls. We've been working hard, but people really like it, and our staff all speak German, which I think people like because it makes it feel authentic."
The personalized feel has made the restaurant a smash hit with the locals. According to the couple, people have raved about the food, and just by word of mouth they have developed a customer base that's loyal and continuing to expand.
"We have one guy who came in here the first day we opened and has been back every day since," Holger Engel said. "It's been amazing. People love the schnitzel, the cabbage rolls, the sauerkraut, all of it really. We haven't advertised at all, it's just been people coming in by word of mouth."
The transition has been so simple for the pair that they feel right at home in Brandon and do not find themselves becoming homesick.
"I like the change in my life," Margitta Engel said. "I had 50 years in Germany and a life with friends and all that. That was nice, but now I think I would like 50 years here."
If You Go
526 Oakfield Drive, Brandon
Hours: Tue - Fri, 11:30am - 2:30pm and 4:30 - 8:30pm; Sat, 4pm - 10pm; Sun, 11:30am - 3pm.