Already since 1976, the Querfeld family has been running the legendary Café Landtmann on Ring Road, and from 1998 onwards, the Café Residenz, the first coffee house at Schönbrunn Palace. When Irmgard and Berndt Querfeld was then offered the opportunity to establish a summer café in the middle of the gardens at Schönbrunn, the enthusiasm was great. They are not only passionate coffee house proprietors, but also trained garden and landscape designers. There has also been a family-run nursery and garden landscaping business across successive generations. With Landtmann´s Park Café, a flowering oasis was created where one can relax and enjoy high-quality food and refreshing beverages.
The fact that our guests can dine and rest in the middle of Schönbrunn today, is due to the Habsburgs. For, without the imperial family´s love of nature, there would be no Schönbrunn palace, gardens or zoo.
Emperor Maximilian II acquired the estate Katterburg, which already included a vineyard, orchard and a modest pleasure garden. He enclosed the area and populated it with game as a hunting area. Fish ponds were laid, exotic peacocks found their way in. According to legend, his son Matthias discovered a well while hunting and called out "Welch 'schöne Brunn!" (What a beautiful well!). During the second siege by the Turks in 1683, that first "Schönbrunn Palace" was completely destroyed.
Leopold I commissioned Fischer von Erlach to plan a new palace. This, however, turned out to be more pompous than Versailles - and couldn´t be financed. Six years later, the architect designed a smaller palace complex, which was finally completed in 1705. The concept of the first palace garden came from the French garden architect Jean Trehet.
Charles VI endowed the palace to his daughter Maria Theresa, who made Schönbrunn an imperial summer residence. One year later, she constructed a continuous avenue to Laxenburg castle. Afterwards, the palace obtained its present appearance due to renovation. Maria Theresa's husband, Franz Stephan, the Duke of Lorraine, who was very interested in science, dedicated himself to the park design and construction of the Schönbrunn menagerie. The park's system of avenues, preserved to this day, can be traced back to the garden architect Louis Gervais and the garden engineer Jean Brequin.
On the 31st of July, Franz I Stephan presented the menagerie to guests for the first time, which only would be officially named "Tiergarten Schönbrunn" many years later. Nevertheless, that day was considered as the day it was founded. Finally, the central pavilion was completed in 1759. That served the imperial couple as a breakfast and social space. While eating and drinking in the midst of the animals, they were protected from the sun and rain. In 1770 the zoo acquired its first elephant.
The Emperor Joseph II, Maria Theresa´s reform-oriented son, opened the menagerie, together with the palace and park, for the general public on Sundays. In the years that followed, Schönbrunn lost importance for the Habsburgs, until the Emperor Franz Joseph I, who was born here in 1830, once again used it as a summer residence. For many years, he travelled daily along Schönbrunner Street to work in the city.
On the 11th of November, Emperor Charles I signed his renouncement of any participation in state affairs, at Schönbrunn Palace. In the evening, he left the palace with his family, which then became the property of the Republic of Austria.
After the heavy bomb damage in the whole area was reasonably repaired, the palace could be partially visited again. The palace park and gardens at Schönbrunn once again became a recreational area of the Viennese. Since the 1990s, the zoo has been expanded and modernized, and today, with more than 2.5 million visitors per year, it is one of the most popular attractions in Vienna. In the park, buildings such as the Palm House were carefully renovated and next to Landtmann´s Park Café, the maze was re-created according to historical examples.