Wanderlust led Chef M Gerard to leave his family's restaurant in Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine, Germany and join the Imperial German Navy. The year was 1888 and there was great
excitement for adventure under the new Kaiser Wilhelm II. Chef Gerard served as chef and head brewer onboard ships in the Seebatallions in Kiel, Germany until his ship was sent to Tsingtau,
China in 1897....
In 1898, China was forced to transfer Kiaochow (now Shandong) to Germany on a 99-year lease. The Germans then began to build the port of Tsingtau. The port became the home base of the Kaiserliche Marine's East Asia Squadron, which operated in support of German territories in the Pacific Ocean. Chef Gerard was assigned to many crews and journey's throughout Asia for the following 12 years where he adopted new cuisines into the German foods and beers he served onboard the ships.
In 1911 Gerard married the daughter of a local Chinese politician and retired from the Germany Navy. His family opened Bierstube Tsingtau. Bierstube in German means “a room or other place used primarily for the serving of beer” The restaurant and attached brewery grew rapidly in fame with both the German and Chinese occupants of Tsingtau.
In 1914 the restaurant was badly damaged during The Siege of Tsingtao, an attack by the British, Chinese and Japanese during WW1. Upon Germany's defeat at the port, Chef Gerard was imprisoned and the restaurant was closed for months. Despite extreme turmoil in the Qing Dynasty at the time, Chef Gerard's political father-in-law used his influence to have the chef released from prison in 1915 to rejoin his wife who had rebuilt the restaurant.
Over the following one hundred years the German restaurant continued to serve the residents and tourists of the beach town of Qingdao some of the finest Alsace-German cuisine found outside Germany. The descendants of Chef Gerard continued the tradition of serving German food and beers with the influences of cuisines they learned throughout their journeys in Asia and visiting the original family restaurant in Alsace (now part of France). Bierstube Tsingtau has expanded to open in other port cities throughout the world, including Philadelphia, PA in the United States.