What your supper costs – and what you actually pay for

21. Apr 2022

You know what’s really easy to do at Nobelhart & Schmutzig, beyond having a great evening? Spending your hard-earned cash. 

Our supper costs you €120 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; from Thursday to Saturday and before public holidays, our menu is €145. 

That’s quite a bit of money. And it’s not even like you’ll be feasting on foie gras, caviar or any of the lavish trappings of upscale gastronomy. No, at Nobelhart & Schmutzig you’ll find yourself faced with a baby kohlrabi from Grete Peschken or Brotwerk Domberger’s dark rye bread with a generous helping of aged butter made from Erdhof Seewalde’s spring milk.

Granted, we Nobelharts are no less enchanted by a good baby kohlrabi and superbly aromatic butter than we are with a majestic lobster. On the contrary: we find that luxury lies precisely in such basic foods, so long as they are of outstanding quality. 

Nonetheless, we do understand if you find yourself scratching your head at the sight of our prices. Especially if you’ve seen Billy’s positively crummy car, you might wonder where all that money goes. 

So if that has ever been a question, here is our answer. 

We see ourselves as pioneers of a new food culture. For us, that is not just about sharing the gospel of vocally local cuisine. Indeed, it goes much beyond what graces your plate or bubbles in your glass. It’s about the wider implications of the choices we make, about social  responsibility, fair pay, and more. As one organism in the ecosystem of gastronomy, we are interconnected with many more of its constituent parts. Our actions have an impact; they affect others. And because we are aware of this, we make conscious choices rather than cheap ones. 

At Nobelhart & Schmutzig, you pay…

… to eat in peace. Most restaurants work with multiple seatings per evening – of course, that makes for more turnover per seat. However, we want you to be able to really savour our evening with us, taking as much time as you need, so we only work with one seating per evening. 

… for us to produce (almost) everything ourselves. Almost everything we use is made by us. Our blossom sugar, our pickled buds of wild garlic, our oil of blackcurrant wood. Sure, buying in prepared foods or ingredients would be more “efficient,” but that is out of the question. We value quality over convenience. That’s why we have more staff than would expect from a restaurant of our size.  On average, we have 13 permanent employees plus a few temporary staff. 

… for us to be a great place to work. In the past 50 years, the usual business model in gastronomy has come explicitly at the expense of employees. Long weeks, hours that are hard to reconcile with care work or anything resembling a work-life balance. Well, we do things differently. We have a four-day work week with full wage compensation and fair pay. Salary transfers are scheduled for the 20th of each month so as to give our people enough of a buffer for the beginning-of-the-month onslaught of rent and bills. In addition, it is important to us that all our employees have the opportunity to bring their creativity to work, that they don’t get stuck in menial tasks, that they are provided the room and opportunity to evolve and develop. For this reason, each team member also gets to do a two-week paid internship per year. And by the way: we pay our interns minimum wage. 

… for us to compensate our producers fairly for their wonderful produce. Of course, many of our suppliers are small businesses. As one of their main customers, we could probably try and haggle over prices. But we don’t. We believe that quality has its price. To us, this is a matter of showing respect to the people who grow and farm our food, and we generally like to put our money where our mouths are. 

… for us to help build a new food culture through Die Gemeinschaft e.V. In 2017, we co-founded Die Gemeinschaft e.V. to help drive our vision of a new, better food culture even more effectively. Die Gemeinschaft is an association of people who work with food in various capacities at any point of the value chain, e.g. farmers, restaurateurs, artisans and scientists. Through a variety of formats, Die Gemeinschaft promotes knowledge transfer, connection and participation. 

… for us to contribute to Zero Foodprint. Zero Foodprint enables restaurateurs like us to step up in the fight against climate change – after all, agriculture is one of the main causes of global warming. We donate 1% of our net revenue from food to Zero Foodprint, which in turn uses this money to help farms convert to regenerative agriculture. 

… for us to ensure other people in our ecosystem are also remunerated fairly, e.g. the cleaning company and our freelancers.

… to be able to rely on consistently high quality. We close the restaurant twice a year, so that all of us are on vacation at the same time. Conversely, this means the same team is active every day that we are open. That helps us deliver outstanding quality to you. 

… for us to act in line with our values on a larger scale. As a business with a certain platform, we consider it part of our social responsibility to give back and to drive the change we wish to see. For example, we take an active stance against racism, sexism, discrimination, and sexual harrassment in the restaurant industry and attend seminars and trainings. 

… to make experiencing an upscale restaurant accessible to students/people in training. We like to say that food culture is culture. Conversely, learning about food – its production, preparation, and everything around it – is education; it’s cultural capital. In order to make this accessible to students and people in vocational training, we’ve introduced our student deal. Limited to two people per evening, our student deal costs €140 per person and includes food, drink, and a truly educational evening. 

… for us to do things well rather than make them easy. An example: a section of our wine cellar is devoted entirely to bottles we’re not presently selling, but storing so as to let them mature. From a business perspective, this is nonsense. Of course, our accountant would be a lot happier if we had a quick turnover of bottles or optimised our wine list according to demand. But while that would be a lot cheaper, it would also be a whole lot less interesting. For you and for us.

 

What your supper costs – and what you actually pay for

21. Apr 2022

You know what’s really easy to do at Nobelhart & Schmutzig, beyond having a great evening? Spending your hard-earned cash. 

Our supper costs you €120 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; from Thursday to Saturday and before public holidays, our menu is €145. 

That’s quite a bit of money. And it’s not even like you’ll be feasting on foie gras, caviar or any of the lavish trappings of upscale gastronomy. No, at Nobelhart & Schmutzig you’ll find yourself faced with a baby kohlrabi from Grete Peschken or Brotwerk Domberger’s dark rye bread with a generous helping of aged butter made from Erdhof Seewalde’s spring milk.

Granted, we Nobelharts are no less enchanted by a good baby kohlrabi and superbly aromatic butter than we are with a majestic lobster. On the contrary: we find that luxury lies precisely in such basic foods, so long as they are of outstanding quality. 

Nonetheless, we do understand if you find yourself scratching your head at the sight of our prices. Especially if you’ve seen Billy’s positively crummy car, you might wonder where all that money goes. 

So if that has ever been a question, here is our answer. 

We see ourselves as pioneers of a new food culture. For us, that is not just about sharing the gospel of vocally local cuisine. Indeed, it goes much beyond what graces your plate or bubbles in your glass. It’s about the wider implications of the choices we make, about social  responsibility, fair pay, and more. As one organism in the ecosystem of gastronomy, we are interconnected with many more of its constituent parts. Our actions have an impact; they affect others. And because we are aware of this, we make conscious choices rather than cheap ones. 

At Nobelhart & Schmutzig, you pay…

… to eat in peace. Most restaurants work with multiple seatings per evening – of course, that makes for more turnover per seat. However, we want you to be able to really savour our evening with us, taking as much time as you need, so we only work with one seating per evening. 

… for us to produce (almost) everything ourselves. Almost everything we use is made by us. Our blossom sugar, our pickled buds of wild garlic, our oil of blackcurrant wood. Sure, buying in prepared foods or ingredients would be more “efficient,” but that is out of the question. We value quality over convenience. That’s why we have more staff than would expect from a restaurant of our size.  On average, we have 13 permanent employees plus a few temporary staff. 

… for us to be a great place to work. In the past 50 years, the usual business model in gastronomy has come explicitly at the expense of employees. Long weeks, hours that are hard to reconcile with care work or anything resembling a work-life balance. Well, we do things differently. We have a four-day work week with full wage compensation and fair pay. Salary transfers are scheduled for the 20th of each month so as to give our people enough of a buffer for the beginning-of-the-month onslaught of rent and bills. In addition, it is important to us that all our employees have the opportunity to bring their creativity to work, that they don’t get stuck in menial tasks, that they are provided the room and opportunity to evolve and develop. For this reason, each team member also gets to do a two-week paid internship per year. And by the way: we pay our interns minimum wage. 

… for us to compensate our producers fairly for their wonderful produce. Of course, many of our suppliers are small businesses. As one of their main customers, we could probably try and haggle over prices. But we don’t. We believe that quality has its price. To us, this is a matter of showing respect to the people who grow and farm our food, and we generally like to put our money where our mouths are. 

… for us to help build a new food culture through Die Gemeinschaft e.V. In 2017, we co-founded Die Gemeinschaft e.V. to help drive our vision of a new, better food culture even more effectively. Die Gemeinschaft is an association of people who work with food in various capacities at any point of the value chain, e.g. farmers, restaurateurs, artisans and scientists. Through a variety of formats, Die Gemeinschaft promotes knowledge transfer, connection and participation. 

… for us to contribute to Zero Foodprint. Zero Foodprint enables restaurateurs like us to step up in the fight against climate change – after all, agriculture is one of the main causes of global warming. We donate 1% of our net revenue from food to Zero Foodprint, which in turn uses this money to help farms convert to regenerative agriculture. 

… for us to ensure other people in our ecosystem are also remunerated fairly, e.g. the cleaning company and our freelancers.

… to be able to rely on consistently high quality. We close the restaurant twice a year, so that all of us are on vacation at the same time. Conversely, this means the same team is active every day that we are open. That helps us deliver outstanding quality to you. 

… for us to act in line with our values on a larger scale. As a business with a certain platform, we consider it part of our social responsibility to give back and to drive the change we wish to see. For example, we take an active stance against racism, sexism, discrimination, and sexual harrassment in the restaurant industry and attend seminars and trainings. 

… to make experiencing an upscale restaurant accessible to students/people in training. We like to say that food culture is culture. Conversely, learning about food – its production, preparation, and everything around it – is education; it’s cultural capital. In order to make this accessible to students and people in vocational training, we’ve introduced our student deal. Limited to two people per evening, our student deal costs €140 per person and includes food, drink, and a truly educational evening. 

… for us to do things well rather than make them easy. An example: a section of our wine cellar is devoted entirely to bottles we’re not presently selling, but storing so as to let them mature. From a business perspective, this is nonsense. Of course, our accountant would be a lot happier if we had a quick turnover of bottles or optimised our wine list according to demand. But while that would be a lot cheaper, it would also be a whole lot less interesting. For you and for us.