The owners of an Austrian restaurant described as a "London institution" have launched a fundraising bid after the Notting Hill venue was destroyed by fire on Tuesday.
For more than 50 years the Tiroler Hut in Westbourne Grove had been serving an Austrian menu accompanied by live music, performed by its lederhosen-clad founder Josef Friedmann (pictured) on the accordion, cow bells, clarinet and saxophone.
Friedmann's daughter, Madeleine Spencer (pictured with her father, below), explained that over the years the restaurant had become "a place for the weird, the wonderful and the wacky"; with a strong community growing up around it.
Spencer told The Caterer: "People came whose grandparents used to visit, it is a place that people felt very loyal to and part of an extended family. We've had the most ridiculous response, at least 2,000-3,000 really heartfelt emails from people who may have met their wife there, had their first dance there, had their weddings there, all kind of birthdays, or came every year. It's a place where people came together."
Many of those who have passed through the doors of the Tiroler Hut have been sharing their memories across social media, saying "it was impossible not to have a good night out here", and describing it as a "London institution and an inexhaustible font of good times and jollity". The venue had also attracted many famous faces in its 52-years including actor Hugh Grant, pop band All Saints, tennis player Boris Becker as well as models Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer.
The cause of Tuesday's blaze, which also affected ground floor Persian restaurant Sadof and the residential flats above, has yet to be determined, but the family said the restaurant has been destroyed. Friedmann, who will be 82 on Saturday, also lost his instruments including an accordion and hand-made Austrian cow bells as well as his lederhosen to the flames.
His family has launched a fundraising bid to replace his instruments and find an interim venue to reopen the Tiroler Hut during the refurbishment.
Spencer added: "We want to reinstate him with his instruments and lederhosen, find him a space and get it decorated to feel like the hut. It won't be the hut, but it will be somewhere. The real tragedy is that there's a massive community around it and they've all been displaced.
"It's not just somewhere people went to eat; it's somewhere they would go for the whole evening and everyone knew each other it was like the Cheers bar."
The fundraising appeal has already raised more than £5,000. To visit the page click here.