FOOD FROM THE HEART
Chef Ludger Szmania and his wife and business partner, Julie, opened SZMANIA’S (pronounced “Smahn-ya’s”) in September, 1990. With several renovations and redecorations over the last 23 years-- including the addition of two fireplaces, a new bar, summer patio and additional seating—SZMANIA’S continues to be a premier destination dining spot throughout Greater Seattle. The exhibition kitchen counter, a favorite spot among Szmania’s regulars, has 10 very entertaining seats next to all the culinary action and occasional chef cooking classes.
Unique transparent hanging murals designed by Magnolia’s Catherine Mayer and local original artwork along with architectural photographs from Europe decorate the soothing earth-toned walls. In addition to the physical changes in the bar, an extensive list of hand-crafted cocktails compliments a distinctive bar food menu.
Chef Ludger was born and raised near Dusseldorf. His professional education and apprenticeship began in Germany with Hilton International Hotels and continued to Montreal and San Juan Puerto Rico.
Ludger’s experience with the Four Seasons luxury hotel organization started in Vancouver, B.C. then on to Houston Inn At The Park and finally to Seattle’s Olympic Hotel as Executive Chef. Julie Szmania is a Seattle native and prior to opening the restaurant was a development director for the UW School of Medicine and executive director of the WA Cystic Fibrosis Fndn. She and Ludger have three accomplished college-age sons and share a beautiful daughter living in Vancouver BC. They have resided in Magnolia for 25 years along with many wild and crazy pets.
In 2006 the Szmania family purchased a 20-acre farm in Cashmere, WA with a historic 1908 farmhouse which they renovated, use as a vacation rental (sleeps up to 16) and often share with family and friends. A one-acre vineyard was planted in 2007 with Sangiovese, Merlot & Syrah grapes which were first harvested in 2011. Wines are currently in production for release in late 2013 and beyond. The Szmanias also raise several very tame, free-range chickens for farm fresh eggs daily.