The brothers Timo and Maik Küspert are continuing the life’s work of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents with a display of innovative commitment in the new millennium. The mill on the River Queich has experienced much turbulence and saw a number of owners come and go before the great great grandfather of the present owners bought the mill in 1908.
The mill belonged to the Order of St John in 1269. From 1725 to 1789, along with seven Morgen (approximately 1.75 hectares) of meadow and nine Morgen of arable land the mill was owned by the Zoller family. In 1789 the mill passed to the miller Georg Schrank from Hockenheim in Baden for an annual entail fee of 70 Gulden and six Malter (1.5 hl) of fruit plus pig food. One of his descendants sold the mill in 1908 to great grandfather Heinrich Humbert. It remained a working mill until 1968. Modern technology enabled large volumes of grain to be processed quickly using water-powered turbines. Heinrich Humbert’s son, Otto, converted the west wing into the “Schützenhof” tavern in the 1970s.
This little “refreshment stop” for hikers marked the beginning of the Zeiskamer Mühle’s entry into the restaurant business. Years came and went. The family’s only son did not return from the war. The mill’s owner, Alwine Küspert née Humbert had a very hard life; she married twice and suffered a further blow in 1973 when she had to bury her oldest son Otto who was killed in a tragic accident. But on the brighter side, the well-known “Zum Schützenhof” at the Zeiskamer Mühle had become a favourite among hikers and walkers.
More than 30 years commitment and hard work have been devoted to the Zeiskamer Mühle to put it onto the path to what it has become today. Ingrid and Ernst Küspert made a start in the 1980s. Starting in 1976 they created a high class restaurant out of the former hikers’ tavern which they extended in 1986 to include a small hotel complex with 17 rooms. As we all know, there is a lot of truth in the saying “like father, like son” so it is no surprise that their sons, Timo and Maik Küspert, are now part of the business and the second generation are now in charge of the fortunes of the “new style old” Zeiskamer Mühle” , as chef and a general manager.
After serving his apprenticeship as a chef in the Bellheimer Braustübel under Wolfgang Maser, Timo Küspert worked at the Walkschen` Haus in Weingarten, then with the Meurer Brothers in Grosskarlbach and in the acclaimed Fasanerie restaurant in Zweibrücken. Already a fully-qualified chef de cuisine with the Scharff brothers at the Wartenberger Mühle , he won the title of “Chef of the Month“ (“der Feinschmecker“ 6/2005) and starting in 2006 took over responsibility for the kitchen of the Zeiskamer Mühle. Maik Küspert learnt the business of hotel management at the Hotel Dollenberg in the Black Forest which in 2004 won the accolade of “Hotel of the Year”. He gained further experience of the hotel business in England and Switzerland, returning to the Zeiskamer Mühle in 2007.
2008 was an eventful year at the Zeiskamer Mühle which has been owned by the Küspert family since 1908. The centenary was marked by exciting events – the hotel and the restaurant were completely rebuilt. 18 new deluxe rooms were created as well as a suite, a completely new restaurant area and a “Weinstube”. The icing on the cake was a new kitchen with the very latest equipment and plenty of space. But things have also happening on the personal level in the Küspert family. Both sons married their long-standing partners. Timo married Madeleine and Maik married Sabrina.
2009 The first of the next generation arrived – Marie was born on 14th June 2009, a daughter for Sabrina and Maik
2010 The next one of the new generation made his appearance – Silas was born on 24th July 2010, a son for Madeleine and Timo
2011 A fish ladder was completed; at last the salmon were able to go further upstream
2012 A storey was added to the former mill building. The old roof was removed and 8 more deluxe rooms built.
2013 This time it was twins – Marla and Clara, born on 22nd May 2013, two further daughters for Sabrina and Maik
2015 Renovation of the rooms in the old mill
2016 Six new rooms over our “Mühlenstube” – We now have 52 hotel rooms
The Küspert family