A Passion for Downtown Sanford


By Sumalee Eaton, Local Sanford Writer and Beerhound

Hollerbach’s has always held a special place in my heart…and you might say it’s a family affair. My family moved to Downtown Sanford when I was a wee Fräulein, and my brother and I spent our formative years living right next door to the restaurant, in the historic Hotchkiss block. My Thai father and Southern mother taught me to take extreme delight in all manner of food, so the addition of German cuisine was music to my palate. My childhood was filled with memories of Kinder Schnitzel, Red Reubensteins (before they were on the menu!), and falling asleep to the sound of Jimmy and Eckhard’s music echoing into my bedroom window.

While it was a great way to grow up, at eighteen I was ready to explore. I moved away from Downtown Sanford, the Willow Tree, and what I thought of as the humdrum of small-town life. When I returned here in March of 2013, the change I saw was astounding.

While Hollerbach’s has always made Downtown Sanford a destination for visitors, it is now a centerpiece for a movement transforming the town. In addition to enjoying quality entertainment and delicious German food, visitors to Downtown Sanford can hop across the street for cocktails at the Imperial, jaunt down the newly renovated Sanford Ave for Belgian beers at Buster’s Bistro, swing around 2nd for organic Colombian coffee and vinyl record perusing at Rabbitfoot Records, and then mosey down our beautiful Riverwalk for the best view of Lake Monroe.

Along with this surge in small business comes a surge in patronage and pride, which is easy to see as I continually run into the same faces all over town, eclectic people from all walks of life who all have one thing in common: Sanford. We truly have such an amazing community of people breathing life into our town, and I like to share this with anyone and everyone coming through Hollerbach’s. I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to meet so many diverse people through the restaurant and String Theory and share with them my love of my hometown, especially at this unique time in our history.

The Willow Tree made growing up in Sanford a magical experience, and I am thankful every day to the Hollerbach family for paving the way for Sanford to at last grow into (and perhaps even transcend) its own potential. In addition to enjoying Hollerbach’s, I invite all visitors to Downtown Sanford to explore our town and support the people and businesses who make it a great place to live.

If you need some pointers, just ask. In the meantime, Prosit!

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