13 locations across the globe, 13 struggling restaurants and 13 episodes: “Restaurants on the Edge” is the latest food show launching on Netflix on February 28, 2020. One episode is set in the Austrian Tirol and tells the story of Miriam and Dave from Pettneu.
How would you react if you were called and asked to be part of an international food show by Netflix? “I never expected something like that to happen to us. I thought that they were trying to sell me a streaming plan. I was not very friendly,” said Miriam Scherl. “Fortunately, the misunderstanding was soon cleared up.” Starting at the end of February, Netflix viewers will be taken to Pettneu am Arlberg where Miriam Scherl and David Bradley run the Arlberg Boutique Hotel with adjoined café and restaurant.
The couple did not apply for “Restaurants on the Edge”. “On scouting locations, the producers wrote to the tourist information office of St. Anton am Arlberg. The Netflix team got hold of our story and approached us,” Miriam explained.
From Guesthouse to Boutique Hotel
Tirol-native Miriam and Dave, who came to Austria from Australia, fulfilled their dream of running their own business a few years ago. In 2017, the couple acquired the former Edelweiss Guesthouse in Miriam’s hometown Pettneu. They both had no experience in the hospitality industry and no one in their families has a background in the hotel business. “This is quite exceptional for a high-tourist area like ours. Usually, families pass their hotels down through the generations,” Miriam said. “They all thought we were totally insane.”
But Miriam and Dave did not give up their dream and opened their Boutique Hotel in the summer of 2017. In addition to the guest rooms, they installed a tiny café in two old parlours. The design is best described as a blend of upcycling, DIY and much attention for detail. “We have two barns filled with vintage and second-hand furniture and we love to breathe new life into these,” Miriam said. Their first seasons as hotel owners were hard work: “Up to now it has been a real roller coaster ride. We have made many mistakes,” Dave said in Tirolese dialect with Australian accent. “And we still do,” Miriam added, laughing.
The Unloved Restaurant
The couple’s biggest challenge is located on the ground floor: The quirky eatery with bar in classic 1960s and 1970s design, with a lack of charm, drab décor, yellowed walls and dated dark wood everywhere. “This was weird for us, too” Dave said. “But somehow we never managed to renovate the restaurant.” That’s where Netflix came in and the Restaurants on the Edge team intervened.
In “Restaurants on the Edge”, three hosts travel to breathtaking locations in far-flung places around Europe, Asia and Latin America, to rescue struggling restaurateurs from the brink of bankruptcy. The restaurants the show goes to are on the edge of a fantastic locale, leading to fantastic views. But they’re also on the edge of failure, having leaned on its locale more than developing a vibe and a good menu. “Restaurants on the Edge” sees an experienced restaurateur and familiar TV personality, Nick Liberato, a renowned chef and social media star, Dennis Prescott, and an award-winning interior designer, Karin Bohn, looking to transform restaurants that – despite being located literally on the edge, on stunning locations overlooking oceans, mountains and deserts – are struggling to live up to their potential.
From Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan
It all went very fast from the surprising phone call in June 2019. Following a few video interviews, the first Netflix team with organizer Laura arrived in Pettneu in July 2019 to assess the situation. She sat down with Miriam and Dave to get to know the couple, their place and their philosophy and began planning the revamp and employing local companies and craft businesses. The overhaul was slated to be completed in three days, which involved a great deal of work and a great deal of sweat. By mid-July, the entire production team visited Pettneu with vans and trucks and generated a big crowd of curious onlookers: “We were required to sign an agreement of secrecy first, but when the Netflix team arrived with a bang, they created a buzz of speculation and there was no way of keeping it secret. There are no secrets in a small village like this,” Miriam said.
“They swooped in to revamp the interiors.”
The restaurant makeover involved lots of decluttering, sawing, hammering, nailing, painting and more. The design plan and details for the restaurant were kept secret to Miriam and Dave during the renovation period. “It’s awesome what they have achieved. They’ve been working with tough conditions and very limited time. They got a month-long project done in three days,” said Dave Bradley. “We didn’t know the concept and we didn’t know what’s going to be done. But the team really understood where our minds are and where our passion is.”
The big reveal is featured in the episode, and Miriam and Dave were thrilled with the result: The place was transformed with a lacquer of green paint and some modern touches. Traditional furniture with a new twist gives a contemporary and inviting mix. “We are so happy with it. They included our passion, upcycling and vintage furniture into their concept.” Some of their beautiful vintage and second-hand items are now showcased in a way that they look special, such as lampshades made of ancient skis and poles and wooden sheep serving as cuddly stools. What’s more, the three experts did not only renovate the restaurants’ decor but also its marketing, PR, business models and menus in order to keep them in business.
Pettneu as Favorite Location
“We really learnt a lot from this filming experience,” the couple said. “The crew did such an unbelievably amazing job, not only in front of the camera but also behind it. They gave us great advice about how to run our business.” And the three hosts Nick, Dennis and Karin were enthralled with the location, too: “They always said that their favorite Restaurants on the Edge experience was the episode set in Tirol. Truth to be told, we thought that was part of the American politeness culture.” However, Nick Liberato recently gave an interview on US television and asked what his favorite location was during the production he answered, as quick as a flash: Austria.
Photos by Maria Kirchner