C Sunday Inn Egg Großdorf, Irma Renner (re.) with Chef Milena Broger (c) Darko Todorovic / Vorarlberg Tourismus
What can you do when you lose your heart to an abandoned inn? If you do it perfectly, then you do it exactly the same as Irma Renner from the Bregenzerwald went about it. You simply make the best out of it! The traditional “Adler”, typical of inns in the Bregenzerwald, in the centre of Egg-Großdorf, was closed down a few years ago and, despite several attempts to breathe a new lease of life into it, it never got back on its feet. There was no help in sight. Another traditional inn less in the region? Surely not!
Irma Renner crept around the lovely yet aged shingled building a couple of times. Pondered a while, discussed it, spoke with her husband and many friends about it and, two years ago, finally came to a far-reaching decision: the “Adler” (“Eagle”) was to take flight again and be reinvented as a small, exquisite Sunday inn. The idea behind the project: females from the region cook up their favourites dishes for their guests. A special three-course meal is served up every Sunday in the “Adler”. Saturdays are spent preparing, so that there is enough time on a Sunday for the odd chat with guests.
Every Sunday is different, each Sunday is a minor challenge
“In line with tradition, we open up as soon as church is out,” explains Irma Renner. “Then the first guests start coming in for a glass of wine. Food is available all day from half past eleven.” Bread and cake, home-made according to well-guarded family recipes, complete the Sunday feast and provide for a merry, carefree atmosphere amongst the guests. The façade bears a real inn sign. The old wooden boards are a bit on the creaky side, the walls are panelled and, thanks to a happy coincidence, Irma Renner succeeded in getting her hands on some Thonet chairs from another inn, which, despite their age, are still attractive. The superwoman, whose background is actually in the marketing business, applies a good instinct for beauty, classic and simplicity she absorbed in her second chosen home – Italy.
And so the “Adler” retains its lovely homely, nostalgic character. And yet it is elegant in its own way. The pictures by Irma’s husband go well with the centuries-old walls. He – Paul Renner – is not only a well-known Vorarlberg artist, but these days is also a cook in the Sunday inn. Irma has seen a lot of the world with him by her side. And that is why the “Adler” now combines in no small part all those things which the two of them discovered on their travels – or which they have wished for.
Everyone gets to cook their own favourites for the guests in the “Adler”
Simple and brilliant: slices of beef filet with rocket and Parmesan
Talent with a passion for travelling: the native of the Bregenzerwald Milena Broger regularly cooks at the “Adler”. And always has new ideas up her sleeve …
Light one time, hearty another It all depends on who is doing the cooking as to what is served up every Sunday – and it can vary a lot.
You can really feel that they are having fun. Sometimes celebrity chefs come along, such as the great Reinhard Gerer from Vienna.
“I really had no idea at the start how it would work out, cooking for 50, 70 or even 90 guests on a Sunday,” explains Irma Renner. “Yet I was sure about one thing – that it would have been a terrible shame to simply give up on the ‘Adler’.” And so the native of Vorarlberg launched a search of her own, and found in her circle of acquaintances good cooks such as Herta Covi who regularly cooks her favourite dishes at the “Adler”. “Herta’s roast veal and her potato noodles cooked in the oven are truly delicious,” enthuses Irma Renner, for whom seasonal cuisine using fresh, high-quality ingredients is the most important factor of all. That, and a good atmosphere. The team works in harmony with each other: Irma’s sister is part of the team, as are acquaintances, friends and friends of friends.
Hard work is the name of the game in the “Adler” on the holy day – yet there is a lot of laughter too. “Right from the start, the guests picked up on the fact that we all love doing what we are doing here,” says the restaurant proprietor who received her calling relatively late. “We experience every Sunday as something different, each Sunday is a minor challenge.” And although everything seemed to be fairly perfect, Irma Renner once more followed her gut instinct. She thought that Vorarlberg cuisine ought not to be served up every single Sunday. After all, at home you cook Asian or Italian on a weekend, don’t you? Hence, in addition to her very own favourite cooks, she engages guest cooks from the four corners of the world: “We have already had the pleasure of hosting several guest cooks, such as the famous Reinhard Gerer from Vienna and Jussuf from Marrakesh”, she explains.
We sometimes invite guest cooks. Those Sundays can take on an exotic flavour.
Milena Broger, a talented young cook from Hittisau, has been part of the regular team right from the start. Milena, a mere 22 years of age, goes off to cook in different places for a couple of months at a time – Tokyo, for instance, the Caribbean or Scandinavia. But then she is always happy to come back home – home to the “Adler”. “At the Adler, it is not all about cooking; it is also about art and the whole spice of life,” she says. Milena Broger simply brings along her new ideas and favourite dishes, most recently from Bornholm – potato soup served with or without black pudding. A smoked rainbow trout filet with spring onions and sour cream. And as a dessert, blueberry pie with
What can you do when you lose your heart to a lonely old inn? You do as Irma Renner did: pack it full of life. Serve up first-class food. And watch it become the love of your life.