The main house located in the garden was earlier inhabited by employees of the castle. In 1850, royal material coachman M. Hansen received a grant from King Frederik VII. The grant allowed Hansen to sell coffee, tea, water as well as milk and cream to the joy of the common people.
Thus, Denmark’s oldest family restaurant was established. The tiny eatery payed the king a yearly sum of 24 kr. (€3/$4).
After a few years, the king allowed for Haven to also sell Bayern beer – the selling of strong spirits like those of brandy and cognac was however still not permitted though could be added for a fee.
Haven, commonly known as “houses of tea water” or “the blow gun”, rapidly became a popular meeting point. The upper classes and artists of Copenhagen also enjoyed Haven for parties and leisure alike. Holger Drachmann met his mrs Edith here. As well, the Danish artist Storm P. had a special place for Haven in his heart. Because of this, Storm P. has his very own statue in the restaurant. The statue is cut from the oldest elm of the garden by the artist Ole Bülow in 1998. Hence it was proud traditions the Christensen’s family had to live up to when they took over the restaurant in April 1997.
During the five first years the family attentively restored and renovated Haven and its buildings, so it once again appears as the former sanctuary it was, frequented by locals and celebrities rediscovering the restaurant. The family has reinstated the traditional Danish kitchen, something that proved quite successful. Further verified by the many honor badges decorating the walls. The restaurant is also favored by the Danish royal family as well as by the royals of Saudi Arabia.
Meet the chef and owner
The owner John Christensen was trained at den Gyldne Fortun back in 1984. After a couple years at sea and a few smaller businesses, John settled as a restaurateur at HGF in 1997. Soon he will be celebrating his 25th anniversary as owner of HGF. In the beginning John himself was in charge of running the kitchen but the last many years Lars Tranow has been Head chef. Accompanied by a big team of chefs and “smørrebrødsjomfruer”, he creates the menu of Hansens Gamle Familiehave.