She’s the boss. Sabine Groß. A passionate gastronome. She works where others relax. Her place of work: Haus Müngsten.
An industrial structure made of steel with enormous glass windows that reflect Müngsten Bridge when the sun is shining. Germany’s highest railway bridge connects the cities of Remscheid and Solingen. The same is true of the Wupper valley below.
“One house, three floors, thousands of possibilities” is the Haus Müngsten motto. A place of encounter. With a view of the imposing technological wonder. Bridges connect.
What is so special and yet so normal for Sabine Groß: the establishment is operated by Lebenshilfe Solingen, an organisation that helps people with psychiatric illnesses, as are the transporter bridge and Brückenpark Müngsten. Successful integration in practice. Everyday, as a matter of course. The staff work and live together.
And perform their work quite inconspicuously. As do the whole team. Hand in hand. Ensuring that the guests feel comfortable. Each in their place, so everything runs smoothly. And that is a big challenge on weekends, public holidays and in the holidays. Especially when the weather is good.
She is calmness personified. Confident, friendly, clear. You wouldn’t notice at first glance that Groß comes from Cologne. What brought her to the Bergische Land? She fell in love with a Düsseldorfer – without knowing it while on holiday. But it was already too late for her. Since then, the couple have been happily married for many years. The Bergisches Land is an ideal, neutral country in the middle, she says. Together with her “Kölsch boy”, she not only runs Haus Müngsten but also the ice rink in Südpark Solingen.
For Sabine Groß a friendly work atmosphere is very important. Everyone is respected and supported. The restaurant is a barrier-free two-in-one establishment. Eleven people with disabilities work there by day - behind the counter, in service and in the kitchen. Another small team takes care of events and activities at the restaurant.
One thing is noticeable: there are no menus on the tables. Sabine Groß explains that clear structures and processes are important for the integration work, so everything runs like clockwork. If there is a menu on the table, the staff know that the order is yet to be taken.
The business graduate emphasises that the principle of “Draußen gibt es nur Kännchen“ (pots of coffee? only outside) does not apply at Haus Müngsten. Nor are the tables divided into server zones. The guests can order from anyone and pay anyone.
You hardly notice that it is an integration establishment. Nor is that necessary, says the boss. The staff wouldn’t want that either, Groß continues. They are proud to be part of the mainstream labour market.
Müngsten is a place of encounters. Room for everyone. Nature meets technology. People meet nature and technology. People meet people.