Emperor Franz Joseph I would have been very happy if the Viennese coffee house culture had already existed in Schönbrunn during his time. But it only started with Irmgard and Berndt Querfeld.
Two years after the palace and park were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Irmgard and Berndt Querfeld opened their Café Residenz in the Cavalier Wing. Too late for the Habsburgs, but fortunate for all visitors to Schönbrunn. The Querfeld-family, which also runs the legendary Café Landtmann - originally established in 1873 - is known for the particularly loving fostering of the traditional Viennese coffee house culture. Since 2011, this is also "immaterial" world cultural heritage.
The premises of this coffee house have a long gastronomic tradition: This is where the "police kitchen" was back in the emperor's days, and where the guards had to eat. After World War II, in year 1948, the management of the castle applied for an concession to turn these premises into a restaurant. In 1950, the premises were let for rent to Brau AG. For the duration of 6 years, it was a restaurant, until 1967 it was a café-restaurant led by several tenants. There were two other tenants until 1992. From this moment on, the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur & Betriebsges.m.b.H. took over the concession. First, it was let for rent to Do & Co, but in the year 1998, the premises were passed on to family Querfeld.
Emperor Franz Joseph I often regretted not being able to mix with the common folk. If he wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of Guglhupf, he could only do so in private, for example with his confidant, the actress Katharina Schratt.
Emperor Maximilian II acquired the Katterburg estate and mill, which already included a stable, as well as vineyard and orchard. He enclosed the area and populated it with game. 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 design 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.
Charles VI endowed the palace to his daughter Maria Theresa, who really loved the estate. 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, dedicated himself to the park design and construction of the Schönbrunn menagerie. Their son, Joseph II, opened the palace and park in 1770 for the first time to the general public.
As a boy, Emperor Franz Joseph I played in Schönbrunn´s Crown Prince Garden and practiced military exercises. He saw himself as the first civil servant and was very dutiful. Every morning he drove with the carriage to work in the Hofburg. One of the few pleasures he indulged in was one or the other pastry like Kaiserschmarrn or Guglhupf. After the assassination of his beloved wife Sisi, the monarch lived alone in Schönbrunn for many years and died there at a ripe old age in 1916.
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.
Towards the end of the war, the main wing of the palace and part of the Gloriette were heavily damaged by Allied bombing. The castle was the headquarters of the British occupying forces during the occupation period from autumn 1945. Since 1948 it could be partially visited again. Soon, the Schönbrunn park and gardens and the zoo would once again become popular recreational areas of the Viennese.
UNESCO declared Schönbrunn Palace and the park and gardens as a World Heritage Site. The special protection of the entire ensemble is also an honorable duty for the Querfeld family. The Café Residenz blends harmoniously into this environment.