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Meet Cyndie Kasko of Old World German Restaurant in Huntington Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cyndie Kasko.

Cyndie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Old World Village, Huntington Beach nestled between the 405 freeway and Goldenwest College, has always been synonymous with Oktoberfest. Over the years, thousands have witnessed the pulsating beat of oom-pah-pa bands direct from Germany, the cheers and laughter of dachshund races, as well as the bizarre but delightful ritual of the “Chicken dance.” The aroma of freshly baked rolls, bread and European pastries fill the air. German specialties such as sauerkraut, bratwurst, sauerbraten, potato pancakes, schnitzel and apple strudel delight guests daily. Overflowing mugs of ice-cold European beer and shots of Jägermeister top it all off. Visitors flock to Old World during the months of September and October to participate in the festivities. This Bavarian Village was designed, however, to be enjoyed every month of the year.

Josef Bischof, my father, a German developer, came to this country in 1952 and dreamed of bringing with him a piece of his homeland to share. After finding acreage available in Huntington Beach, his dream became a reality. He and his wife, Dolores, built 50 homes above 50 shops in the traditional Bavarian style. Imported lanterns light the way along the cobble stone streets. 70 vibrant murals depicting scenes from 18 European countries enhance the walls of the houses, it truly is a walk through Europe without leaving Orange County. In the center of the village you will find a church for worship, a hall for gatherings and wedding reception s, an open-air beer garden and a beautiful gazebo, restaurants, market and a motel the shopkeepers live above their shops and carry a variety of products and services from crystal, collectibles and clocks to Birkenstock shoes, health foods and German groceries.

September 1978 marked our Grand Opening coupled with the first annual Oktoberfest.

Today, Old World is alive and bustling with activity year-round… One Sunday in May is devoted to “Maifest” with German bands and folk dancers. A maypole has been erected to depict all the ingredients for a wonderful life, including hearty food and a cozy home. The second Sunday of July is “German Heritage Day” where the music keeps the toes tapping, the beer flows and the food is free for the first 500 visitors. The middle of August is the “Plum Festival” with delicious fresh-baked goods made with sweet juicy plums. Live music and folk dancers. This festival is held in memory of “Grossmama” Dolores’s mother who lived in Old World to the ripe old age of 103 ½.

At the age of 100 she baked Dolores’s birthday cake which was always a juicy “Pflaumenkuchen” (plum cake). Any time of the year Old World is host to countless fund-raisers, weddings, funerals and business meetings.

Dolores has since passed away and Josef still reside on the property at Old World, along with their children, Cyndie and husband Jason & children Ronin & Victoria and Bern and children Markus & Matthaeus Bern’s wife passed away in April 2017. Today the Bischof family work to create new ideas for future festivals while keeping with steadfast traditions. Together they invite one and all to experience the heart of Europe in the center of Surf City.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Our family has always lived by the motto “If life gives you lemons, make lemon-aid” while of course we have had our fair share of hardships, we have managed to be in business for nearly 40 years. I would say the hardest struggles our family endured was the passing of our beloved Mother Dolores Rose. She was the heart & soul of our family business, and now the passing of my brother’s wife a couple months ago to breast cancer at the age of 47 was an absolute unexpected nightmare. She left my brother, and her two sons ages 19, 15 behind. Things are very different now for our family and we will need to figure out how to move forward. This is all still very fresh and I pray that we get through this tough time.

Please tell us about Old World German Restaurant.
We serve up delicious German Beer, Bratwurst, Schnitzels, Pork Shank, and Strudel in our German Restaurant. We are most famous for the annual Oktoberfest Celebration where we fly in bands directly from Germany and have lovely Shot Hostesses serving shots of German specialty liquor. Who can forget the cute lil, wiener-dog Dachshund races too. They are a huge hit!! Old World is the SOCCER Headquarters too, come watch Soccer with us we have over 20 TV’s to choose from. We even have a German Bakery, Deli and gourmet Market for all your hard to find European groceries. Our entire family works here at the family business making us a true family owned and operated business. I am proud of our business because my father built this village which so many call home. When hiring our employees, we always tell say “Welcome to the Old World Family” they truly become part of our family, many of my employees have been with us for 25+ years. That really says something these days.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The biggest regret I have is that when my father built the village in the late 70’s he sold each building to other interested people that wanted to have the luxury of owning their own business and being able to live above their business. The problem with that is not everyone shared the same vision that my family had. So hence, you now have 50 different owners with in OLD WORLD and 50 different ideas as to what Old World should be. Had he kept the entire village, we would have been able to set store hours and pick and choose the types of stores and businesses in Old World Village. We are one of the few businesses with in OLD WORLD that have set store hours and are open daily.

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