The tables are set, the kitchen is being prepared and the first hungry customers are already coming through the doors of the “Horschel” restaurant. Today, for a change, they are being greeted by the two men who run the house. It quickly becomes clear to the guests that the European city ideal is actually lived here! Bas Dankers, co-owner and co-manager of the restaurant comes from Amsterdam and Dawid Wojciechowski, manager, was born in neighboring Poland. It’s not unusual for guests to be curious about how both of these men ended up in Görlitz.
In Bas Dankers’ case, it was love that brought him to the city on the banks of the Neisse River. Until the age of eighteen, he lived with his parents in Amsterdam. During this time, he traveled a lot with his family, from Europe to America, and foreign countries proved to be incredibly tempting. At eighteen he fulfilled his dream of finding more sunshine in Gran Canaria, where he worked in the tourism sector. After a year and a half, he returned to Amsterdam, where after a job as a telephone salesman in the financial sector, Bas Dankers started his gastronomic career. At the age of twenty-five, he worked in service and behind the bar in a small, but quite successful restaurant in Amsterdam. At the same time, he also spent several months a year in Brazil. In Amsterdam the classic success story from waiter to manager followed and Bas Dankers saw the restaurant rise to one of the Top 10 in Amsterdam. Among his regular customers was an artist from Görlitz, who studied in Amsterdam. This is how he eventually came to Görlitz and met the owner of the Emmerich Hotel. Together, they made plans for the restaurant “Horschel” and in 2019 during a visit, the Dutch globetrotter sensed the potential of Görlitz and discovered a niche for himself in the field of upscale gastronomy.
Dawid Wojciechowski, also convinced of the concept, joined the company in 2022, but it had been a long journey from his hometown of Zgorzelec to Görlitz. Even as a child, Dawid dreamed of the “golden west”. The day the Wall fell is deeply etched in his memory, “that’s how wonderful that day was.” Dawid trained to be a hotel manager in Zgorzelec. After a first internship in a hotel in Görlitz, family connections brought him to Frankfurt am Main, where he worked first in an Italian restaurant before getting the chance to work at the upscale Weidemann Restaurant. It was there that he got to know all the facets of upscale gastronomy and worked his way up to restaurant manager. After a two-and-a-half-year stopover as director of gastronomy in the largest Eastern European hotel on the Śnieżka mountain, he returned to Frankfurt, where he worked for five years as service manager in a French brasserie. However, his family was calling him back to his old home and Dawid spent one year helping his sister establish a restaurant in the old town of Görlitz. After that, he moved back to Frankfurt to the “Franziska,” a rooftop restaurant in the upscale Henninger Tower. “There I had quite literally reached the top,” Dawid raves about the location, which is unique in Germany. However, when he learned of his mother’s serious illness, he quickly returned to Zgorzelec. It was to be a new turning point in his life: here he met his great love and accepted the challenge of the restaurant “Horschel.”
And if you ask them both how they feel in Görlitz after having been so successful in top establishments in the metropolises of Frankfurt and Amsterdam, they both answer immediately: “The decisive factors are the opportunities for self-realization and the quality of life. Görlitz scores highly on both counts.” Especially worth mentioning: the inherent internationality of the tri-border region, the proximity to the cosmopolitan cities of Berlin, Prague and Wroclaw, the versatile excursion possibilities, the nature around Görlitz and the short distances. But above all, it is this basic coziness – as a counterpoint to the constant hustle and bustle of the big cities – that contributes to a high quality of life here. People are still accessible, and the professional rhythm of the year makes it possible to have more time for oneself and the family.
Could they imagine ever moving away from Görlitz? “We went over it and realized, Görlitz is best for our child,” says Dawid Wojciechowski and Bas Dankers confirms: the work-life balance is perfect here. Sure, a bit more nightlife would be good, but he is very confident that the city will continue to develop! “Top entrepreneurs from Frankfurt am Main are regular guests at Horschel restaurant,” adds Dawid. As I said, the (business) world already meets here in Görlitz!
This project has received funding from tax resources on the basis of the budget adopted by the members of the Parliament of the Free State of Saxony.