New Prague, Minnesota
The Hotel Broz was built in New Prague for Bohemian immigrant Wenceslaus Broz. Broz envisioned his hotel as the first, first-class hotel in town. When it opened in 1898, the hotel claimed 17 guest rooms, a dining room, a billiard room, hot and cold running water, gas lighting, and steam heat. Broz spared no expense on the decor — tin ceilings, custom woodwork, and stained glass was used liberally throughout the interior to attract his desired clientele. Broz operated the hotel until 1920. Two subsequent owners let the old hotel fall into disrepair, and its reputation was far from first class.
When John and Nancy Schumacher looked into purchasing the building in 1974, John remembered the building looking like a flophouse. Despite the condition, the couple bought the property with the hope of running a hotel and restaurant. They spent nearly $500,000 restoring the building and furnishing it with antiques from eastern Europe.
Schumacher’s New Prague Hotel and Restaurant opened in 1974. John’s domain was the restaurant. Two of the dining rooms had wooden floors and lace curtains, while the decor of the third reminded many guests of dining in a funeral parlor. It wasn’t long before John ripped out the floral carpet and wallpaper and replaced it with lighter decor. The dark oak bar, chandeliers, stained glass windows, pinewood paneling, tin ceilings, and beams were all original and left as-is.
The restaurant quickly gained a world-class reputation for eastern European-inspired dishes that revolved around wild game. Veal, duck, pheasant, venison, quail, and rabbit dishes served alongside bread stuffing, spaetzle, sauerkraut, and potato dumplings. A fresh kolacky, soup, and salad started each dinner meal. After the main course, guests enjoyed Rudesheimer coffee — strong coffee laced with cognac and topped with whipped cream.
With bellies full of their decadent dinner, boozy coffee, kolacky, and a few cocktails, guests could retire to one of the 12 sleeping rooms upstairs. Each one offered guests plush coziness with folksy decor. A step stool was needed to get into the enormous, hand-carved wooden beds!
For more than three decades, Schumacher’s brought food lovers from around the country to New Prague and was recognized as one of the best restaurants in the midwest. John published several cookbooks and taught Michelin-star chefs how to prepare and cook wild game while running the restaurant and hotel with his second wife, Kathleen, until 2005.
The couple was instrumental in getting their historic building placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. After selling the building at auction, the building went through another renovation and updates that made it accessible for everyone. Today, the building is mainly used as a wedding venue.
Lemon Pheasant Tenders
- 4 boneless, skinless pheasant breasts
- 8 eggs
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup clarified butter
- 1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
- Slice each breast into six strips about the size of a forefinger.
- Combine eggs and cheese and beat until smooth.
- Heat butter in a large saute pan.
- Dredge pheasant fingers in flour, dip into egg batter and roll in bread crumbs.
- Saute fingers in butter until golden brown. Splash with lemon juice and sprinkle with lemon pepper.
- Turn down heat and cook for three minutes, turning fingers over to keep them from over-browning.