What 15 years of the Willow Tree Means to Me


A Message from Christina Hollerbach-Simmons

August 1st will be the 15th anniversary for our restaurant Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café. When we opened the restaurant in 2001, I was 14 years old. I knew that opening a restaurant was my parent’s dream because that’s all they ever talked about. Although, I had never worked in a restaurant before, I grew up as a young child analyzing restaurants with my parents, they were always observing and asking me, “how do you think this could be better?” At the time, I knew that this was a big step and a huge risk for my family, but it took me these combined 15 years to realize what amazing strength and vision this life change really took.

When we started, we had 7 employees and about 80 seats. My parents worked tirelessly every waking minute on the restaurant. We still continue to spend the majority of our time on making this business better. And, with the help of a staff almost 90 people strong, we also extend our vision to Sanford as a whole. We were, and are, joyfully passionate about the difficulties and rewards of owning a restaurant, but it is never easy. Running this business as a family still continues to be an everyday challenge, but one that I would never want to give up for anything in this world.

These past years, the restaurant and our deli have grown tremendously.  Even though we see over 4,000 guest a week, we continue to stay true to our roots and focus on a unique, familial experience where we can create gemuetlichkiet. The growth of our business, and our Downtown Sanford merchant friends and neighbors, is strong and thriving and you can see and feel that energy. However, for me, the most amazing growth that I am proudest of is the part you don’t see. The growth and love of my family is, by far, the most beautiful thing that I am most thankful for as we celebrate this special 15th anniversary.

Our guests have made the past 15 years a true delight, and we hope you will be there to celebrate the big day with us! We’ll be hosting a variety of celebratory activities throughout all three Hollerbach businesses, Magnolia Square, and even the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, where we will be screening our hometown documentary, “Gemutlichkeit: Made in America”. The film is free to attend but we have amazing VIP Tickets available where you get to enjoy unlimited food and drink in Magnolia Square, including German beer and schnapps; preferred seating at the film screening, and a Hollerbach Swag Bag, filled with commemorative goodies like shirts, pins, and mugs.

WHEN: Monday, August 1, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

WHERE: Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe – 205 East 1st Street, Sanford, FL 32771

Thank you so much for recognizing and embracing Gemuetlichkeit, and choosing to spread that feeling with the rest of the community. I hope to continue to help provide and enjoy this for many more years to come.

Click Here to get your VIP Tickets Now!

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