When you enter the Wirtshaus zum Griena in Mayrhofen, you walk into another world: the floorboards creak and the wood-panelled rooms hint at the age of the building. A sense of coziness and rustic charm mixes with the delicious smells of the hearty local dishes. The building itself is a real piece of history. The house was built in the centre of Mayrhofen in the 17th century, but it has only been a restaurant since 1978. It has belonged to the Geisler family for many generations, and in Summer 2016 Daniela Schneeberger and Andreas Langebner took over the running of the business. They have managed to turn one of the oldest buildings in the Ziller Valley into a popular meeting place. The menu only includes real Ziller Valley specialities – flavoursome, traditional and hearty. Gerald Lassnig has been the chef at the Griena for half a year. Originally from Carinthia, he has lived with his wife in Mayrhofen for more than ten years. Gerald spends his professional life in the kitchen, but at home he isn’t allowed behind the stove: “at home my wife is the chef, the kitchen is her domaine. I’m not allowed to get involved, too many cooks spoil the broth! And she is an amazing cook”, he laughs.
The menu of the Wirtshaus zum Griena is decided by Gerald as part of a team of five. In the late Autumn, the traditional ‘Törggelen’ menu is very popular. This includes a huge platter of meats, several intermediate courses and a sweet dessert. All-in-all, gourmet trends in the Ziller Valley remain focussed on hearty food. “Local delicacies are really popular. Roast pork and potato and cheese fillings are what people like to eat, the Tyrolean “Graukäse” cheese is also a favourite.”, says the chef who trained in an award-winning restaurant. Whilst classic dishes such as schnitzel and game ragout have long been a part of the Griena’s menu, the more recent trend is towards regionality. “We source a lot of local produce from the Ziller Valley dairy, potatoes from the Inn Valley, herbs from our own garden and pork from local butchers. That means, for example, that without our own lake we can’t get any fish in winter”, explains Gerald. That’s why fish, which he sources from the Inn Valley, is normally only served in the Griena during the summer months. It’s not just tourists who enjoy the hearty traditional Ziller Valley dishes, but also the locals themselves. “They love the combination of rustic tavern hospitality with real Ziller Valley food like ‘Zillertal Krapfen’, ‘Holzknechtkrapfen’ and ‘Zergl’.
Gerald Lassnig works in a very special place – the oldest restaurant in the Ziller Valley! Above all, he places value on freshly prepared food using the freshest ingredients. Gerald cooks hearty food, sourced mostly from the region. A healthy trend that’s here to stay.