DAYTONA BEACH — Ted Teschner is nearing the end of his run as Volusia Mall’s oldest independent merchant, but he hopes the Mr. Dunderbak’s Bavarian Restaurant/Delicatessen he started with his family 47 years ago can still live on under a new owner.
“It’s just time,” said Teschner, 69, who confirmed he has set this coming spring as the deadline for either selling or closing his restaurant.
“We’ve got it for sale and have decided April 30, 2023, if we don’t have a buyer by then, we’ll close it,” he said. “Next November will be my 70th trip around the sun.”
Mall’s oldest independent merchant
Teschner — along with his wife Linda, his parents Ed and Kathleen and brother Glen and sister Judy — opened Mr. Dunderbak’s on Dec. 9, 1975 inside Daytona Beach’s Volusia Mall on West International Speedway Boulevard, across from Daytona Beach International Airport.
Today, Mr. Dunderbak’s has the distinction of being the 1.1 million-square-foot mall’s oldest continuously operating tenant.
The restaurant started as a franchise location for a chain, but became independent in 1990.
Teschner, his wife Linda, and sister Judy Krodel became sole owners after Ed Teschner’s death in December 1988.
Ted Teschner and his wife continue to run Mr. Dunderbak’s while Krodel is a silent partner. Krodel for 33 years owned a candle and gift shop at the mall called Wicks ‘N Sticks which closed in 2016.
Younger brother Glen Teschner started working for Mr. Dunderbak’s when he was still in high school. He later became one of the managers before splitting off to start his own restaurants, the Bernkastle Festhaus that was part of what is now the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, and later the Shores Festhaus near the Winn-Dixie supermarket in Daytona Beach Shores. He now works as a bartender at the Crabby’s Oceanside restaurant on A1A in Daytona Beach.
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Mr. Dunderbak’s also sells a wide range of craft and imported beers as well as wine. “I think we carry 450 different varieties of beer,” said Teschner. It also offers a large selection of meats and cheeses as well as hard-to-find gourmet food items. In addition, it offers an array of gifts including baskets, German beer steins and wine glasses.
Teschner said he got the idea to become a Mr. Dunderbak’s franchisee after spending a summer living with and working for a family that ran the chain’s location in Orlando in the summer of 1974.
At the time, Teschner was a student studying business at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. “I wrote my thesis in college on if you owned your own business how would you treat people?,” he recalled. “I thought I would treat them the way I wanted to be treated. … If you’re making people a little happier, that’s a good thing.”
Teschner said his dad was a retired advertising executive, originally from the Boston area, who with his wife bought a home in Ormond Beach in 1975, shortly before the opening of the Mr. Dunderbak’s restaurant at Volusia Mall.
Teschner said he and Linda, who got married after graduating from college in early 1975, considered several career options before deciding to become a Mr. Dunderbak’s franchisee at his dad’s suggestion.
“I had my first legal beer down at a Dunderbak’s in Fort Lauderdale so I thought it seemed like a fun idea and a good opportunity. It was going to be something to do,” said Teschner, adding, “I didn’t anticipate I would end up spending the next 47-plus years doing it!”
Meal at Dunderbak’s a tradition for many Daytona area shoppers
Longtime customers Meghan Quartier and Lynn Taylor dropped by Mr. Dunderbak’s on Friday afternoon after hearing through word of mouth that the Teschners had decided to put the restaurant up for sale.
“I grew up in the area in Ormond Beach,” said Quartier who now lives in Palm Coast. “Mr. Dunderbak’s has been a staple in the community. … Great food, great atmosphere, great service.”
Quartier and Taylor stopped Teschner as he was walking by to get him to pose for a selfie photo with him.
“I hope they don’t close,” said Connie Whitehead, another longtime customer who lives in Ormond Beach. “I’ve been going there since 1984 when I moved here from Washington, DC, with my (late) husband and daughter. My parents had already moved here and my dad would always get a reuben sandwich which he said was the best around. My go-to sandwich was (Teschner’s) tuna salad on rye while my daughter Jami (Gallegos) likes to get the mini potato pancakes with sour cream. Nobody makes it like they do.”
“It was our family tradition to get lunch at Mr. Dunderbak’s and then go Christmas shopping,” said Whitehead who recently continued that tradition with her daughter. “It’s just fun to go there. Everyone’s in such a good mood and I love all the baskets hanging from the ceiling.”
Kristina Circelli, marketing director for Volusia Mall, said, “Ted and Mr. Dunderbak’s have been a Volusia Mall staple since the beginning. We love being a part of his journey and getting to see so many customers discover his restaurant, as well as all those Dunderbak fans who continue to come back year after year.
“We hope someone will continue the Mr. Dunderbak’s tradition and look forward to working with new owners who will carry on Ted’s vision.”
Mr. Dunderbak’s currently employs 26 workers, including some who have worked there for several decades.
“One of my employees is trying to figure out a way to buy it and keep it going,” said Teschner. “We’re not asking a lot, just $295,000. You’re not going to become a millionaire doing this, but you can make a decent living.”