Kraut Haven has officially sold its last cabbage roll.
The European specialty restaurant has been a mainstay at the Victoria Square Mall food court for over 30 years.
The schnitzel, cabbage rolls, coffee and perogies all at a fair price brought Kraut Haven many loyal customers.
However, it was Kraut Haven’s longtime owner that ensured people kept coming back for more.
Gladys Toebs worked at Kraut Haven for four years before purchasing the restaurant with her husband in 1989.
Unfortunately due to a recent cancer diagnosis, she is unable to keep the business open.
“My business has been my life and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had good times and bad times here and I’ve always managed to get through,” said Toebs.
On Saturday, the Victoria Square food court was packed with people coming to say goodbye to Gladys.
Ronnie McManus says she has made many friends over the years at the mall and Gladys and Kraut Haven are what brought them together.
“It’s wonderful. It really is. It’s just like a small town atmosphere where everybody gets together and everyone knows each other, it’s great. We’re going to miss her,” said McManus.
Don Csada talked about his group of around 50 friends who have been coming to Kraut Haven for almost 15 years.
They would be there every morning from Monday to Saturday and get their coffee and toast and share stories with Gladys.
“Companionship, all the people that are here are like one big family. The food is reasonable and the people running it are excellent people,” said Csada.
It was not just everyday customers who came to say farewell but many employees from shops around the mall like Dollar Tree and Safeway came to see Gladys off.
“She’s got the best coffee, perogies and cabbage rolls. We come here lots, we’re going to miss Gladys,” said one Safeway employee.
Everyone spoke highly of Gladys and their appreciation for her shined through in every interaction.
“I feel sad because she was very good to us, she had good food and always talked to us and smiled. I’ve met lots of friends in here,” said one customer.
For Gladys, the relationships she built with her customers were the highlight of being a business owner.
“My customers weren’t customers, my customers were friends,” said the longtime owner.
During a presentation of gifts and flowers, Gladys was brought to tears, stating how lucky she was to have helped create such a loving community within the mall.
She said it was always about making time for her customers no matter the occasion.
“I said, you know what, there’s going to be a day where that all comes back to me and it has. You’ve seen it.”