helps Von Stephan “Honor the Family”
When starting a business, there are many different factors that can drive an individual. For some people, it is the desire to provide a service to a particular market. For others, it is the ability to innovate in a field and advance that sector. And for some business owners, their greatest motivation is family; this was the case for Troy Winfred Von Stephan of Von Stephan Village Bier Garten Resturant, located in Cocoa Village.
Von Stephan created the restaurant to honor his family lineage. His great-great-grandfather, Heinrich Von Stephan, was a general post director for the German Empire who reorganized the country’s postal service. He also introduced the postcard to Germany and proposed utilizing the German-owned company Siemens to manufacture telephones, which led to sizeable business development for the now-worldwide conglomerate.
Heinrich is remembered in a framed picture on a wall behind the restaurant’s bar. To the right of this is a photo of Troy’s father, Winfred, who worked for the Walt Disney Corporation at the Empress Room until his transfer to Victoria & Albert at the Grand Floridian resort. After Winfred’s passing in 2013, Troy decided to create the Biergarten.
An Authentic Experience
Von Stephan Village Bier Garten Resturant provides patrons with authentic German food and beverages. Every Wednesday, a Bavarian chef serves genuine dishes from that particular German region. Desserts include black forest cake and Bavarian cheesecake. There are 35 beers on tap and 40 additional bottled choices. Guests dine in an environment designed to transport them back to medieval Germany. The décor includes a watermill near the entrance that Von Stephan built himself. He achieved an authentic look and feel by spending a month and a half researching different regions throughout Germany.
German fare is not only served inside the restaurant, as the exterior of the restaurant boasts self-serve bratwurst and pretzel stations, similar to the kind seen during Oktoberfest. Local jewelers can also sell their merchandise outside the restaurant, creating a local market feel.
The Biergarten is not only a destination for quality German food and drink, but also a gathering place for authentic German entertainment. The restaurant’s entertainment director comes directly from the German pavilion at EPCOT, and he presents Oktoberfest-type shows for patrons Wednesday through Sunday evenings. In the near future, Von Stephan Village Biergarten will also feature dueling piano shows on Friday and Saturday nights and a Sunday marionette puppet show for kids, with 15 percent of proceeds going to Brevard schools. For Stephan, getting involved in the community is part of his big-picture plan for the restaurant.
“The goal is to provide people with an authentic experience they won’t forget,” Von Stephan said. “Anyone can go to a German restaurant, but here you experience a real taste of Bavaria and feel like you’re in a different country. If you can experience entertainment, culture and great food, I think that’s the ticket.”
Partnership for Growth
Fidelity Bank of Florida helped Von Stephan facilitate his goals for the business. Established in 1990, Fidelity Bank has ingratiated itself to the region’s business community. For Sheri Chamberlain, the Merritt Island branch’s commercial loan portfolio manger, the ability to have a positive presence in the community and meet its banking needs are critical for the success of the institution. In addition to its ties to the community, the bank is one of only a few in the area that finance liquor licenses for establishments like Von Stephan’s.
“We have a personal connection with our customers, and not only that, we know the area,” Chamberlain said. “Cocoa Village is so unique, and something like a biergarten is a no-brainer. With Troy’s talent, background and passion for the project, it’s something you want to be a part of.”
The Von Stephan Village Bier Garten Restaurant is indeed a mix of Troy Von Stephan’s talent, background and passion, but it is also an example of the power of family and how it can inspire a person to achieve success in the business world. With the help of Fidelity Bank, Von Stephan Village Biergarten has become a must-experience place for both locals and visitors that honors history and culture, and provides real value to a resurgent community.
Find the Village Bier Garten Restaurant at:
415 Delannoy Ave. | Cocoa, FL 32922 or