The Pearl of Downtown Sanford is, without a doubt, Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. Open 7 days a week, lunch through dinner, owners Theo and Linda Hollerbach took a gamble on a small cafe in Sanford well over a dozen years ago. They weathered over a year of street closure, but fast forward to today, and on the weekend, if you don’t have a reservation, you don’t eat!
Rated one of the best German restaurants in the US, Hollerbach’s packs them in and showers Gemutlichkeit on their guests—treating all as family. The German food is authentic, from schnitzel to rouladen and Weisbein (a big ole shank fit for a family), plus plenty of sides such as spatzle, red cabbage, and potato pancakes, with desserts to die-for such as strudel and Black Forest cake, no one goes away hungry. And then there’s the atmosphere, with German polkas on the weekend, singing and dancing, Jimmy and Eckard entertain so you’d think you’re in Germany. And if the boot comes out, watch out—a 2 or 3-liter of beer is in your table’s future.
The Willow Tree has expanded several times, and is still packed every weekend—reservations 5 weeks in advance for parties greater than 4 are needed. And another huge expansion is currently in the works, under the guidance of second generation daughter, Christina Hollerbach. There is nothing not to like at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. Lunch sandwiches and lighter fare, sausages, schnitzel…..you’ll think you’re in Germany. But they are a family business, so closed major holidays so their employees can enjoy time with their families.