Late last week, Swiss Rail announced that it has a new tenant for the vacant restaurant space at Lausanne train station.
Meat lovers may be disappointed, however fans of vegetarian food will be licking their lips.
The restaurant chain Tibits, which has eight restaurants in German-speaking Switzerland, and one in London, will open its first restaurant west of the rösti graben*, in Switzerland’s French-speaking region. The restaurant chain, which can trace part of its roots back more than 100 years, will open its doors in Lausanne in 2018.
Ahead of the launch of their first restaurant in 2000, three Swiss brothers, Christian, Daniel and Reto Frei, who had dreamt of creating quality vegetarian food, that could be grabbed on the run, teamed up with Rolf and Marielle Hiltl, owners of the legendary, and oldest, vegetarian restaurant in the world, Haus Hiltl in Zurich. According to Guinness World Records, the restaurant, initially called the”Vegetarian Home”, was founded in 1898.
In 1901, Ambrosius Hiltl, became ill with rheumatoid arthritis. His doctor told him he’d soon die if he didn’t cut meat from his diet. Switching to vegetables did the trick. He made a full recovery. Hiltl dined regularly at Zurich’s “Vegetarian Home”, and in 1903, the struggling establishment was looking for a new manager. Hiltl jumped at the chance to run the place, which despite moving, has stayed in the family ever since. It is now run by the fourth generation of Hiltls.
Tibits combines Rolf Hiltl’s family tradition with Christian, Daniel and Reto Frei’s desire to make vegetarian food more accessible.
Site of the future Tibits restaurant at Lausanne’s main train station.
Currently, Tibits fans in Suisse Romande, must journey as far as Bern to satisfy their cravings.
Last year, on a trip to the Swiss capital, I dined at Tibits for the first time. The food was surprisingly tasty and varied, and my kids loved it. While waiting for a free table, we started chatting with the manager and asked him why they had no restaurants in Lausanne or Geneva. He told us they had been looking for locations for some time but hadn’t found anything suitable.
The former Buffet de la Gare, which served traditional food and opened in 1916, closed in December last year, to make way for major renovation work to Lausanne’s main train station. The listed Belle Epoque era space has been looking for a new tenant ever since.
Here is a Tidbits’ food shot from Instagram to prepare your taste buds.
* The rösti graben, or fried grated potato ditch, refers to the dividing line between French and German-speaking Swiss. The Sarine river (Saane in German) is also used to refer to this rough dividing line. French speakers often refer to German-speaking Switzerland as being Outre-Sarine, beyond the Sarine (river).