The History of Restaurant Leberfinger.
The history interwoven with the contemporary building of Restaurant Leberfinger goes back to the second half of the 18th century to the time of Maria Theresa’s reign. Back then, the opposite bank of the city of Bratislava, which was the territory of contemporary Petržalka, was formed by numerous small and big islands since the Danube winded its way into multiple arms. Enger-Au Island was the place where the foundations of old Petržalka with a church, farmsteads and gamekeeper’s cabins were being laid in the course of the 16th and 17th century. Here a significant road – the future Viedenská cesta Route – arose.
The vicinity of such important traffic junction could not indeed lack facilities like a tollhouse, a police station, and an inn. It was not an ordinary inn but rather a holiday one where their customers were provided accommodation and boarding after their long or short journey, and at the time when horses and carriages were used for mainland transport, their riding horses and draught animals put to carriages were also given care.
In the 18th century, the city owned five inns, namely those in Blumenthal, in a quarry, in Lamač, Vajnory and the one in Petržalka – Bruck Aurel Wirtshaus – which was a predecessor of the Leberfinger Inn. In 1759, the inn was run by Carl Turbilio, who paid the city 20 guilders yearly. The existence of the inn at that time is captured also on the Marquart’s plan of Bratislava dated 1765.
After the year 1775, the inn began to bloom, and it even rose in importance when another significant event – the creation of a public park – occurred in its close proximity in 1771 following Maria Theresa’s order to regulate the River Danube bed and to modify the river bank.
The war fought by Emperor Francis I in alliance with Prussia and England against French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte resulted in the French troops arriving in the territory of Petržalka in 1805. Once the peace was signed in the Primate’s Palace, the French troops left, albeit, not for long. In 1809, they again occupied Petržalka. On October 14, 1809, peace was established between Napoleon and Austria. The French troops left Bratislava for good, and they withdrew from other localities in Western Slovakia as well. Life got back on the right track. Better times were to come also for the urban inn in Petržalka. Being an owner of the inn from 1818 to 1821, Andreas Rosins probably built up a new larger inn, or he had the old one extended by another window axis in such a way that the street facade facing the Danube was extended from the original 5-axis facade to the 11-axis one. The new layout of the inn premises was captured also in a plan dated 1820. The complex had kept that shape until the 1990s.
According to a plan prepared by Albert Hoinann six years later, an arena was erected on the riverbank, and the park was given a new shape of an open natural English park.
In 1840, new inn owner Ján Alkhofer paid the city 300 florins and 15 crowns every quarter. In the 1860s, the inn became an important point in the recreational area. Every Saturday, a stage coach departed from the building of the inn in Petržalka, heading to Hainburg (Hamburger Stellwagen), driving across the Viedenská cesta Route past an old church standing next to the Pečenské rameno Arm of the Danube, past a chalet close to Bécsi ország út. Its route is plastically depicted on a map of Bratislava and its neighbourhood from the second half of the 19th century. Owners kept changing over the last third of the 19th century. The city inn (Pächter des städt. Gasthofes) was leased for Anton Gohler in 1869, for Sonntag in 1871, and in 1881 after a long time again for a lady innkeeper – a widow surviving Alojz Hofbauer. Subsequently, from 1882 to 1893, it was leased for Johann Wald who was saw that great fame when the first stable Danube bridge across which a number of tourists were arriving on foot or by carriage was put into operation in 1891.
In 1894 – 1895, the building of the inn was run by Ludwig Leberfinger. Its plot of land was registered under number 3180 and no. 257 in the Land Register of Bratislava III District, which was the so-called Francis Joseph’s District.
Emperor Francis Joseph’s visit of which those unique photos have been preserved is one of the most important moments in the history of the Leberfinger Inn.
On October 1, 1924, Rudolf Leberfinger tenanted the inn situated in an orchard that was owned by the city for 12 years.
Presumably, the Leberfingers were doing well. No unpredictable natural disaster like fire or flood befell them so they could regularly repay an agreed price, as they are recorded as tenants of the inn also in the 30s and 40s of the 20th century. The city’s justification why the city had not put out the inn for a tender but lease it for the Leberfingers was appealing: “For more than 28 years since 1895, applicant Rudolf Leberfinger has been a tenant of the inn, albeit, even though a sole tenant since his brother’s passing away in 1916. The applicant has managed the inn flawlessly for the whole lease period, and he has won the greatest satisfaction of the city being a lessor as well as one of the guests, who have always been served carefully, and dishes and beverages provided have been very favourable in terms of their quality and reasonable price in comparison to other inns.”
In recollection of the inn, even well-known Slovak writers were full of praise for it. When speaking of his friends, Emil Bohúň wrote: “On the way back, we always stopped by to have a beer in the garden restaurant U Leberfingera. It was generally known that the best plum dumplings were served right there.”
Ján Smrek was also unstinting in the inn′s praise: “Leberfinger – this was a miraculous kitchen. God bless it! What a pity it is only a memory!”
To gain its current shape, the building of contemporary Restaurant Leberfinger was renovated by the Civic Association of theatre WEST during the years 1996 to 1998. Situated in the close vicinity of Janko Kráľ Garden, the restaurant has a perfect position, being a pleasant environment for family or business meetings.
The object includes also a children’s’ garden with an ice-cream bar, which may be a pleasant stop during your summer walk across the park in Petržalka.