Hans Im Gluck: from Germany with burgers
Following a holiday in Singapore last year, a restaurateur couple has returned to open a casual gourmet burger restaurant, Hans Im Gluck, in Orchard Road.
The brand’s 50th outlet and first outpost in Asia, it specialises in vegan, vegetarian, beef and chicken burgers served alongside salads, tea infusions and cocktails.
Hans Im Gluck was launched seven years ago by Gunilla Hirschberger, a vegan, who set herself the goal of shaking up Germany’s meat-focused dining scene. The 53-year-old Munich-based Swede saw a gap in the market for vegan-friendly offerings at burger restaurants, and with her German husband Thomas Hirschberger opened the first Hans Im Gluck in 2010, named after a German fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.
They now run 49 outlets in Germany and Austria, with more coming up in Italy and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the Singapore restaurant is in a purpose-built outlet between International Building and the Royal Thai Embassy. Next year, the couple will open two more outlets – at Boat Quay and at Republic Plaza, Raffles Place.
For 15 years, the Hirschbergers ran a Californian-Mexican restaurant chain with 40 outlets across Germany, which they have since sold. When they visited Singapore they say they felt an instant connection to the city.
“Singapore has a good spirit and is full of different kinds of cultures. People here are open-minded and happy to see new things,” says Gunilla. “The city is innovative and has a good flow.”
Their Singapore store features imported German-made oak furniture and 180 birch logs, installed throughout the restaurant to resemble a German forest. The menu, which looks like a children’s storybook, features 30 burgers.
It has its own sauces including vegan mayonnaise and orange mustard, as well as multigrain and sourdough buns made exclusively for the chain and sent frozen from Germany.
At 4000sqft (370sqm) and seating 180 diners, the restaurant is small compared with the German outlets, of which 23 are family-owned. Those restaurants are usually about 10,000sqft with about 400 seats, excluding the terrace.
The Singapore restaurants are wholly owned by the Hirschbergers, and the chain is looking to expand into other parts of Asia, including Hong Kong and Taipei.