“POP of the Year” 2022 comes from Lucerne

Since Mario Waldispühl and Sylvan Müller took over in 2019, the “Jazzkantine zum Graben” in Lucerne has become a hot spot for the young Swiss dining scene – and has now been named “POP of the Year” 2022 by GaultMillau and partner American Express.


Ethics meets indulgence

Even before the Covid pandemic, many Swiss restaurant establishments were struggling to survive financially year after year. The lockdown has further exacerbated the situation. The search for the formula for success that can reconcile quality, costs, sustainability and profitability is still in full swing in many places. Former star chef Waldispühl and photographer Müller have already come up with a possible solution. They serve consistently prepared and fairly priced sustainably produced food from the region, thus successfully conveying to their guests why ethics and indulgence belong together.

Reduction to the essentials

Listening to Sylvan Müller, you quickly get the impression of someone who has found themselves and is at peace with himself. After years as a photographer, he has been successfully running Jazzkantine together with his business partner, chef Mario Waldispühl, since 2019. “There was no concept,” Müller affirms, “we just wanted to offer what we like best ourselves.” They mainly cook what is currently being harvested in the region. They deliberately avoid both cheap meat and the usual fine cuts of beef. What sounds simple, calls for a great deal of creativity and improvisation from the kitchen team. The menu is therefore extremely reduced, but also very varied. Guests appreciate the freshness on the plates and appreciate the courage of the two restaurateurs with their loyalty.

Lockdown used for bread experiments

At Jazzkantine, its own sourdough bread plays an important role. It is not only an ingredient in many dishes, but can also be bought “over the counter” from 5 p.m. The Jazzkantine team used their time while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic to experiment with new types of breads and recipes. Because for Waldispühl and Müller, simplicity also always means wanting to evolve. Curiosity is their most important driver and in the end, of course, the many regulars benefit from this. It’s rare to find the same dish twice at Jazzkantine.

Regional and seasonal, but for real

Whether it’s organic woolly pigs from Ebikon or freshly harvested organic vegetables from the Lucerne countryside – if you’re really serious about regional cuisine, good contacts to small producers are
extremely important. Jazzkantine impressively demonstrates what others still doubt: For really good food that is prepared innovatively and with first-class craftsmanship, people are willing to pay a price that also covers the true costs. Waldispühl and Müller have just extended their lease for the Jazzkantine for another 5 years. We congratulate the newly crowned “POP of the Year” 2022!

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