Here is Vikaramjit, who along with his very gorgeous sister, Divi(Dil Preet), who I interviewed today at their mom and dad´s Punjabi Indian restaurant on the square, is so funny and normal and down-to-earth, that you feel like you can start trading stories of how many beers do you have to drink before all the relatives that you haven´t seen since last Christmas start arriving and you have to make small talk for 12 hours with them? And although I am positive that me and my friend, Jackson, will win, they do have a very big family of sisters and cousins and elders that work together everyday, which brings much fun and great stories! Freiheitsplatz 1
So, if you want to say hi come to HATHI, THE CULTURAL Indian Punjabi restaurant of Graz.
When I first walk into the Hathi Indian Restaurant on the square at Freiheitsplatz 1, where it sits majestically, pretty much commanding the entire square, I meet the cousin Joan Preet. He says that yes he is from India, yet I have to wait for Divi or Vikaram. Which I do. When I meet Divi, she is so beautiful as if a movie star, and soooo funny, cleaning the silverware, throwing it in a pile, haphazardly setting the tables as if to say, O my gosh, I have to do the table settings again, when she would much rather be talking and entertaining the guests that come for lunch. She lights up when we talk about the culture of Prague and the history of the young generation of Hathi, though. "My mom and dad are from India, yet 20 years ago, Graz didn´t know Indian food and so they became Austrian and Italian chefs. My father is the chef and for a couple of years he had the tiny section of the restaurant here and cooked Italian and finally a couple of years later he said to my mom that they should prepare food that they cook at home, Indian Punjabi style." she starts to show me the buffet and walk me around the rooms. To which I see that there is now 3 big rooms. "Yes, Vikaram, who is the media social person who you shall meet, has brought mom and dad into the new century, and Me? Well, I convinced my mom and dad to make the restaurant bigger with a new room of 3 rooms total and now we have a risk of being very big, yet very successful. Graz is the culinary and cultural center of Austria and I am happy that my mom and dad see that the very special skills that they have with the heritage of Indian culture is presented here and to the world."
"Our Punjabi Indian food is a little spicy, not too spicy, though. The people love it. We love to come and present it to them and since my mom and dad started it, at about 6.00 euros per person to 9.40euros many years later, it has brought people here to taste and when they taste at lunch they come back at night for a special romantic visit." says Divi.
"Yes that is my little daughter and son and we had a birthday party welcoming Hathi to back in business after we renovated the 3rd biggest room. So, you can see that everybody of all ages loves the Indian culture and food!" says Vikaramjit. https://www.instagram.com/restaurant_hathi/...
The restaurant is very funky and fun and casual at the same time. The kids normal, you know, just regular kids working with the family, yet they seemed to have more worldly global things to do on their minds, chatting, running outside talking to the lunch guests who all come for the 9.40 euro buffet, which is totally amazing, carrying on a conversation with me, having their cousin as the waiter and the cooks in the kitchen walk out of the kitchen casually change the buffet, say hi, saunter back in. It is all sort of funny, laid back and sureal and although the restaurant has been here 19 years, the kids have brought it to the modern age! "My wife does the facebook and instagram. She loves India, yet she is Austrian," says Vikaram, who writes everybody´s names out for me. 7 family members in total work here. "She took our children to India 4 months with my mom and dad. She had a great time. At home, I cook and eat, she cleans up." he starts laughing. "You know, you have to delegate responsibilities."
The food on the buffet is amazing, all for 9.40euros per person at lunch.
Toast to the new Champagne and Breakfast bar and Garden named Schaffner´s with Bernard!
"I am a modern person that loves the wood tables and the steel and chrome of the restaurant, that I designed all myself and the lights on the top are from water pipes. The antler´s are from a sculpture friend of mine, and the coffee is my own blend of beans that I have a local roaster do. https://www.schaeffners.at/
The coffee is named Schaffner´s and soon I am to have my own wine of Muskateller that the Austrians love. I invite people here to eat a light breakfast with ham and eggs and cakes. We always have cakes and a austrian light lunch cake called flumkuchem.
At night it is wine and cocktails and great Gin that I am making a signature one of named Schaffner´s Gin and of course my favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot. You can come have a great night at my champagne bar til 12:00 midnight or if you have 5 or more people and you want to stay and drink and party til 2 or til 3:00 am that is alright with me," says Bernard.
"I am the only one with the Champagne Veuve Clicquot Stems on the champagne glasses, and they gave these to me especially since the company loved my ideas!" says the thrilled young owner of only 3 to 4 weeks of Schaffner`s the Champagne Bar and Breakfast restaurant with his name.
Woo! I say when I taste the very strong morning drink of coffee! "Is it too strong? I combine the coffee with Arabica and have a local place roast beans and make it myself. I love making it all myself and I made all the lights and tables and booths. It is my style and I love my champagne bar!"
"Soon to have my own Gin label, yet I believe that the Gin is perhaps too trendy. The Styrians love wine, and they love the Gin yet now I believe that they are focusing the love to Whiskey and I am doing my own Whiskey, too. I want to expand in the future over Vienna, and perhaps Munchen. Now we make Schaffner´s of Graz successful! And of course everybody loves Champagne. I love ice cold Champagne outiside sitting in the Garden or late at night sipping with friends laughing and telling stories. Champagne is." says Bernard.
DUKE JOHNS Barbershop, Graz, located at Annenstrasse 25
"you can chance walking in, yet making appointments are better..."
3 to 4 weeks in advance at : +43 660 8300211
In the 1860s during the American Civil War, the companies that are famous today, and that DUKE JOHNS has a couple of these chairs, such as KOKEN started making the barber chairs on a big scale. Today the companies no longer exist, yet if you are lucky enough to find one of these babies, hold on to em!
"The DUKE JOHNS is for Men to have a great haircut, a great shave, to relax, have a drink and exchange views with each other in the Barber Chairs, you know. And, for instance, my shaves start at 34.00 euros. It is a high class place with the highest of standards and we expect you to come in with hopes and to leave with your hopes fulfilled. We have gotten a great reputation the last 2 and 1/2 years and now I need more Barbers!" says Alexander!
"I love the classical shave and the way that gentlemen in society behaved in the 1920s, and that is the way that my barbershop is today. It is Men Only and although I used to have a hair salon 15 years, I enjoy the camaraderie of owning the Men´s Barbershop, DUKE JOHNS! Men can come here and talk about Guy stuff, you know. Have a whiskey, have a beer, chill and enjoy the haircut and shave."
"I spent tons of time on finding the perfect atmosphere to transport you to your own living room of comfort and the chairs are all from America. The real barber chairs that are not made any longer. I found these on the internet and with contacts and now I have 3 barbers and 5 chairs!" laughs the very friendly and very experienced Barber of DUKE JOHNS, Alexander Prasser.
A Barber has always been traditionally male only and the term Barber itself is geared towards the hair care of men...if you are interested in a GREAT VIDEO check it out!
From the Classic cut to the Father and Son to the buzz cut, junior cut, Hot Towel shave, Hair trim, to the Beard Trim and Shaping to the Custom Contour Cut, just ask and they do it, although they do specialize in the short hair cut and beard care.
"Men only, Girls, It is a Old-fashioned Men´s club, yet we encourage the men to give their ladys their credit cards to go shopping while they enjoy a little chill time with us!" laughs Alexander Prasser, the Creative Barber elite behind the DUKE JOHNS OF GRAZ.
Having a dance with the Latin South American Music of TORONA, Graz,
the Spanish inspired Pinchos and Tasty Appetizer Restuarant and Bar...elegant and fun!
Prokopigasse 2, A:)...reservations at +43 0316 90 240 4
I am VERY HAPPY to ADD the 3rd of Graz, the charming and totally tasty restaurant of Torona, where I had the ultimate fun and pleasure to chat with the funny boss, Christian, and his director Zane, who is shy yet great to talk to. They let me have a South American spritzer named the Bellini, which is basically some great alcohol with strawberries and later a Chillean wine. "We only have the wine from Chili if it comes from South America and the others are Spanish wines. I wanted my restaurant to be 100% Spanish. The dishes you are eating are a combination of appetizers, basically since the other items on the menu are pinchos. The pinchos are basically items on skewers! Yet the famous potato soup with the prawn and the meats and cheeses that you are about to taste come from Spain. It is a little teaser to whet your appetite and from here we graduate to the pinchos. These range from lamb to Argentina beef and you can have 1 or 3 pinchos depending how hungry you could be!" laughs Christian when I ask just how much are we talking to have a great time at Torona and eat tons of great South American Spanish food!
"I would say that it is Spanish and South American inspired, since every wine is a Spanish or Chillean wine from Chile South America, the dishes are 100% inspired from Spanish recipes and the Mojitos and Appetizer´s are Spanish!" says the unassuming charming and very kind boss, Christian, who along with his shy assistant from Latvia, Zane, charmed me tonight at the totally tasty Torona´s of Graz. The Spanish influenced and South American friendly elegant bar and restaurant is located at: Prokopigasse 2, A:)
"I believe that it is very important to greet everybody with a smile and a welcome. To say hi come on in, let us entertain you and make your evening special. Most people are not used to that type of old-fashioned service. It used to be that way, say 30 years since, yet now-a-days, if you aren´t a celebrity or a 20 year old gorgeous girl, the people at the door of even the best restaurants just escort you to your table. When the guests here come in, we are always super friendly and super attentive and they seemed surprised and yet very happy. The next couple of days we see the same people. It is important to me to make my guests my friends. I am here everyday!" says Christian on his philosophy of Torona. It is true, too.
"The locals of Graz come because they appreciate a little variety in the food of Austria, we have the exotic pinchos and the Spanish wines at a very little cost and they can have a great evening."
The Inhaber of Blend Coffees in Graz is Peter, who says he fell in love with a Hungary girl, moved from Munchen to here and is very happy with his Blend brands. "I thought to do it myself, I wanted to own the store of Blend and be the Roaster at the same time. I loved the way the coffee smells as it is roasted and I love the entire process of the beans from green to brown and the crackling as they roast." is the reason Peter decided to roast his own. "The only country that I have been too in terms of coffee farmers and the production is Guatemala, and perhaps in the future more countries. I have been to Guatemala 4 times. The rest comes from primarily Hamburg distribution." he says. Reitschulgasse 25
https://www.facebook.com/BlendcoffeeroasteryGraz/ location is:
Blend coffee roastery
And of course little tuna and cheese sandwiches, croissants, sweets to add to the Blend Coffees of the day are always nice too; however, with Peter! it is all about the Blends!
I loved the little accessories of the Coffee Blend, such as the modern sleek high tech coffee canisters, or for instance the beautiful black clay coffee pitcher and bowls on each side. "That is for the taste of the coffee to have a slightest difference such as a chocolate hint in one of the bowls. You know how you serve red wine in a certain wine glass and white wine in a certain wine glass. It is a different breathing technique for each and the same is with coffee."
The couple who ordered the coffee that way said that they could smell the difference of the same coffee in each bowl/cup, yet the taste was very slight. "I believe if you are a coffee connaisseur you could tell the difference, such as a sommelier. Others just love the coffee!"
Everybody loves coffee, or so the saying goes, yet if you are starting to be more into Tea, you can try your hand in the 6 exotic loose teas that he carries too, with the fruity or herb aromas that make coffee and tea so great to drink. Come and try all the varieties in the shop and if you happen to be here on a Monday or Tuesday you can actually see Peter at work as he roasts the coffee beans!
The beauty of Graz is that it is so normal. You know, it is such a quiet little city of 300,000! Here in the morning as you sip a gentle coffee you can enjoy the serenity of the cobblestoned streets near Blend Coffees.
LOANA´S LOVELY CAKES OF GRAZ
Loana´s Cakes have a physical location and a huge bakery. They used to be just for events, such as you know that special day named a wedding! And now, "We have so many tourists that walk in and ask if we have ready made cakes that they can buy and take home and have tonight at dinner, that we decided to do just that in addition after 7 years as a specialty cake store. And now, just last night, my wife decided to make cinnamon buns, to which I ate 5 of these before dinner and I couldn´t eat dinner," says Loana´s very funny and charming husband who I always talk to at the store location!
Below is the joking hubby of the famous Loana, "I am renovating the store myself and it should be back and open for business to the walk in public in about 2 more weeks. You can call the bakery, though and order cakes and pick these up here daily!" he says as he is getting ready to paint pink and white stripes in the store. I am not sure if these are Loana´s choices or his! +43 66 4 12 17 872
Below is Loana, who bakes tons of cakes a day, according to her always laughing and joking husband, "We bought the biggest baking oven that you can possibly buy that comes already put together so I wouldn´t have to put it together myself" he laughs as I ask how many cakes at once can Loana bake? "30".