Kathy Krznaric and Ana Sumecki pass the keys to Little Bavaria to new owner Brandon Ford. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Kathy Krznaric and Ana Sumecki pass the keys to Little Bavaria to new owner Brandon Ford. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Owner of Little Bavaria Restaurant in Port Alberni passes the baton

Little Bavaria has a new owner, but iconic restaurant will stay the same

The owner of Little Bavaria in Port Alberni is “passing the baton” to a new owner, but everything else about the iconic Port Alberni restaurant will be staying the same.

The Little Bavaria was opened in 1966 when a German man named Eddie Schoenborn and his wife Gina bought a property on Fourth Avenue in Port Alberni so that Schoenborn could follow his dream of opening a traditional German restaurant. He ran Little Bavaria for close to 17 years, but sold it when his wife passed away.

Manda Porter bought the restaurant in 1983, where she remained until 1993 when the current owner Kathy Krznaric took over operations.

“I had always wanted to be my own restaurant owner,” Krznaric explained. “I thought I hit the jackpot.”

Prior to purchasing Little Bavaria, Krznaric worked at the Hospitality Inn, as well as several other restaurants in Port Alberni.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 51 years,” said Krznaric. “I think I deserve to retire.”

That’s where Brandon Ford comes in. Ford, who was born and raised in Port Alberni, will be taking over operations of Little Bavaria on February 1, 2022. He will be just the fourth owner of the restaurant in its 56 years of existence.

Over the past 56 years, the restaurant has not undergone any major changes. Everything remains the same, from the menu to the wallpaper.

Ford emphasized that Little Bavaria is a “Port Alberni landmark,” and he doesn’t plan to make any changes.

“There’s nothing more authentic ‘Port Alberni’ than Little Bavaria,” said Ford. “The plan is for it to stay the exact same—the same team, the same menu, the same experience. I’m honoured and excited to be joining this team.”

Ford has spent the last 20 years working at Beaver Creek Home Centre and also volunteers with the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department. But he has some restaurant experience—he spent several summers helping his uncle run a restaurant business down in the United States.

“For me, Little Bavaria just another way to give back,” said Ford. “It’s an amazing opportunity to keep an iconic Port Alberni restaurant in Port Alberni.”

Krznaric feels she made the right choice in selling the business to Ford.

“I feel 100 percent confident to pass the baton,” said Krznaric. “I have faith in Brandon.”

Krznaric’s staff is sad to see her leave, but they are “hopeful” about the future of the restaurant.

“Kathy helps with everything—from greeting people to peeling potatoes,” said waitress Eleanor Bone, who has been working at Little Bavaria for 20 years. “We’ll miss her a lot. People just have to realize that it’s still going to be the same place.”

Part of what makes Little Bavaria so unique is Ana Sumecki, who has been working as a chef for 40 years. She continues to cook the same cuisine today as she did in 1983, and will continue to cook under Ford’s ownership.

Krznaric thanked all of her staff for their help over the years, including long-time waitresses Barb and Terri, as well as cook Shelly. She also thanked her husband, Joe, for his support, and offered her thanks to the community of Port Alberni.

“People come here to celebrate their first anniversary,” said Krznaric. “Then they come back after 50 years to celebrate their 50th anniversary with us. Port Alberni has trusted us and believed in us all these years.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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Little Bavaria staff stand outside the restaurant on Fourth Avenue with new owner Brandon Ford (far left) and old owner Kathy Krznaric (second from left). (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Little Bavaria staff stand outside the restaurant on Fourth Avenue with new owner Brandon Ford (far left) and old owner Kathy Krznaric (second from left). (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)