Hallo and thank you for your interest in our business ventures! Founded by Theo and Linda Hollerbach in 2001 in the historic district of Downtown Sanford, Hollerbach’s has grown from the original 75-seat lunch café into a thriving German-themed enterprise with a 300+-seat restaurant, a German store and delikatessen, an apparel shop featuring authentic traditional folkwear, and an ever-growing series of holiday celebrations and outdoor festivals like Oktoberfest.
We hope our press kit material proves informational and useful to you, but we are always available to answer any questions you may have at 407.321-2204 orrefer to our email directory.
Vielen herzlichen Dank
Theo, Linda and Christina Hollerbach
Meet the Executive Team
For me, creating Gemütlichkeit (a German word evoking the cozy familiarity of drinking and dining with close friends) is a way of life. Some days that means designing a marketing campaign driving guests to experience a newly-imported Riesling at our German market, some days it means doling out Apfelstrudel to thousands of guests during a street party. No matter the task, my goal is to serve as liaison between the business practices that have brought us so much success and the innovative ideas that will carry us into our future.
Having worked every single position in our restaurant, from dishwasher to head of HR, I understand the individual parts of the restaurant, how they click together, and what it takes to make it all hum. I value education through experience and am energized by working with motivated, passionate people who get the job done. This extends beyond the doors of my own business as I work hand in hand with other local merchants and organizations to encourage commerce and growth in our community. I consider investment in the future of Downtown Sanford vital to the success of our business, and lend my skills as a speaker, event planner, and board member to several local non-profit organizations.
LINDA HOLLERBACH, MBA
Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café
Magnolia Square Market
Hollerbach’s Art Haus
HTLC Properties, LLC
Linda Hollerbach makes dreams come true. Without an opportunity to attend College after high school Linda entered the restaurant industry as a table busser at the age of 16 and by 19 was the youngest manager in the restaurant chain’s Florida units. She rose to Executive Training Manager for the Central Florida region. She left corporate chain culture to create her own concept.
Linda is a Life Long learner and wanted to acquire other skills needed to own a successful business. Holding positions as a Sales Office Manager for a Copier company, Bank Teller Manager, and CEO of a Medical Review Company. In each position she advanced from an entry level job to a position of leadership quickly. Her ability to visualize what needs to be done to build a culture and train a staff is well documented.
In 1999 Linda was accepted to the Executive MBA program at Rollins graduating in 2000. This accomplishment is a rare opportunity given to few people without an undergraduate degree. Linda set out determined to use her new knowledge close the deal and create a Destination Restaurant.
In 2001 the dream is realized with the purchase of the 90 seat Willow Tree Café in the Historic downtown district in Sanford, Florida. The first 4 years saw expansion into adjoining suites growing the café to nearly 300 seats. Expansion included the purchase of a second building to house the Deli/Bakery, and production kitchen, Magnolia Square Market.
Starting in 2010, Linda’s 4-year hiatus from the business due to a bout with breast cancer gave her time to return to her passion for art. Looking for a less demanding schedule she opened String Theory Creations Jewelry making business, which evolved into Hollerbach’s Art Haus. After three years she realized that what the public wants from the Hollerbach Family brand is all things German, inspiring her to open Hollerbach’s Outfitters selling traditional German Clothing.
The future is loaded with more expansion projects, as Linda works with contractors and architects to add a new bar, gelato shop, second floor event space, and roof top beer garden in the building adjacent to the main restaurant.
Theo Hollerbach is a Restaurateur with 20 plus years of experience specializing in German Cuisine who believes in exceeding expectations, spreading Gemuetlichkeit (a sense of well being one feels when enjoying the company of friends and family while savoring good food and drink) and creating benefits in the process for his guests, employees, company and the community. Prior to operating his German restaurant with his wife Linda in 2001 spent 13 years working as Dispatcher and Driver for Mears Transportation Group. Theo also served in the US Army as Personal Action Specialist from 1975 to 1979.
Theo has grown his restaurant from 60 seats in 2001 to over 300 seats in 2018, added a German Delikatessen /Grocery store, Clothing/Gift store and is expanding the restaurant in 2019 by 180 seats.
Theo has been instrumental in the growth of downtown Sanford, FL. Commercial district. He has served on the Seminole County Tourism Board. His award winning restaurant has been featured in many TV productions, Social Media, and Print articles. Theo is most proud of creating opportunities for his employees to succeed and making Sanford, Florida a destination worth visiting.
When Theo is not working, you will probably find him riding his bicycle, driving his car or trying to make life better.
2004 - Present. Josh has held several positions in the industry at major corporate restaurants including management. In 2003 he advanced his culinary training at the Le Cordon Bleu at Orlando Culinary Academy. After completion in 2004 Josh came to the Willow Tree for his internship and returned to us after an opportunity to work at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando. After 5 years he moved to the front of the house as Dining room manager. Josh stays current in the all the kitchen and market operations and can perform and train staff in any of the duties of the back of the house as well as the front. Josh was instrumental in designing and opening the Magnolia Square Market. Overseeing all operations at both the restaurant and market he has held his current position for 5 years and is the lead for our construction expansion project. In 2018 he traveled to Germany to expand our wine selection and to negotiate with Edinger Brewery to design and build our new bars. He actively participates in planning and decision-making including menu design and procedure policy. His culinary skills are still practiced and can cover any of chefs or bakers.
2005- present. Executive Chef. Patrick joined the Willow Tree in 2005 after his graduation with top honors from Le Cordon Bleu, Orlando Culinary Academy and an internship at Rutherford’s 465 in Destin, FL. In 2012 Patrick took time off to open successful American grill pub in Lake Mary for a private restaurant group. He designed the kitchen and menu, setting all recipes, vendor relations, policy and procedures. He was fully responsible for the recruitment and training of the entire staff. After this incredible learning opportunity Patrick returned to the Willow Tree as Head Chef and now currently serves as Executive Chef over both the restaurant and the market. Patrick is also fully crossed trained for the front of the house and acts on Josh’s behalf in his absence. In 2017 Chef Story traveled to Germany to train with the head chef in at the Hotel Gasthaus zur Post Kyllburg. This is Theo’s home town and the region our recipes are styled in. Chef Story has been voted Best Chef in Seminole County 2017 and Best Chef in Sanford 2016 and 2017.
What's coming next
In 2019 Linda and Theo enter the third year of succession planning expecting to give up complete control of operations to the Executive team in 2020. The team has been in control of decision making for the past year and are responsible for our current growth and numerous awards. Theo and Linda Hollerbach will stay involved as active board members holding the CEO and CFO functions, providing financial oversight and guidance. It is likely they will hold financial control while providing discretionary budgeting to the executive staff until all debit obligations are paid.