Anaheim’s Jagerhaus closes after more than 40 years of service
Jägerhaus, Orange County’s iconic German restaurant in Anaheim, closed on Dec. 12 after more than 40 years of service. The closure comes shortly after owner and manager, Sandie Schwaiger, passed away in October. Schwaiger ran Jägerhaus for more than 21 years.
“It was beautiful even though it was so sad,” said Kay Jones, longtime friend of Schwaiger and acting proprietor of Schwaiger’s estate, regarding the restaurant’s final dinner service.
The restaurant was in talks with the Anaheim Planning Commission as early as 2019 to keep the location from being developed into a 24-hour 7-Eleven gas station and carwash by a Los Angeles-based developer.
“We really tried very hard not to allow that center to become a carwash,” said Jones. “Sandie was adamant about that because there were small businesses in that center that really didn’t have another option. And the homeowners behind the center were beside themselves because it is one thing to have a quiet little business center behind your house, but to have a carwash and 7-Eleven with the traffic and the noise and everything?”
The shopping center is home to six other small businesses besides Jägerhaus, owned by locals, like New Look Beauty Salon, Melchor Bakery and Ace Flower Shop. All now face 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,” said Jones. “When they divorced he didn’t want the restaurant, so Sandie kept the restaurant.”
The restaurant had an extensive menu that served traditional German dishes like szegdiner goulash and holstein schnitzel, based on recipes that were said to go back seven generations in Germany. The restaurant also notably served beers from two of the world’s oldest breweries, with Weihenstephan lager (established in 1040) and Weltenburger (established 1050) on tap.
Jones said Schwaiger’s hospitality became a mainstay in the Jägerhaus dining room.
“Sandie just had sparkle and she brought that to everybody in her world,” Jones said.
Jägerhaus wasn’t just a restaurant but a pillar of the Anaheim community. Los Amigos de Orange County, a Latino activist group, regularly held meetings there.
“People were bringing their grandchildren here, when they had come as youngsters,” Jones said. “We were a part of so many families memories.”
Attempts to relocate were unsuccessful. Jones said the restaurant was given notice in November to vacate by the new year. At that time, Jones had not yet been appointed executor.
“I couldn’t name a day and time to close the business,” said Jones. “We knew — the employees and everybody knew we were going to have to leave by Jan. 1, but we didn’t know what day we were going to be able to close until I got that.”
Then on Dec. 12, the restaurant announced its closure on social media, stating that evening would be Jägerhaus’ final dinner service. The send off, Jones said, was bittersweet.
“Sunday was horrible, and yet it was beautiful,” Jones said. “The outpouring of love for Sandie was astonishing. It was just wave after wave of love for her and the restaurant that meant so much to her.”
All the latest on Orange County from Orange County.
Get our free TimesOC newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Daily Pilot.