The Restaurant The Newport is a real jewel in the culinary scene of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. This is due to the incomparable location on the Trave River with a view of historic harbor sheds, the modern and stylish ambience, and the menu, which offers a selection of dishes inspired by northern German cuisine but also featuring international influences. And it’s because of the approachability and attentiveness of the entire Newport team, which provides unobtrusive service at all times. Behind The Newport is its owner Ralf Schulte, who is a great host, loves to cook for friends himself, and for whom authenticity is important to his business and his own life.
water love & worldliness
I recently stopped by The Newport for ZWISCHENZEILEN to chat with Ralf Schulte about his dream come true. In Ralf Schulte I met a fascinating personality whose path across half the world almost inevitably had to lead to Lübeck.
Ralf originally comes from the Sauerland, but spent vacations with his family at the Baltic Sea in his childhood and youth. Here he fell in love with the sea and the lightheartedness of summer. Here, he learned to swim and marveled at the fat boats like the Gedser II and the Peter Pan that entered Travemünde harbor. A profession that would have taken him out to sea would therefore have been the obvious choice. Things turned out differently, however, as Ralf Schulte devoted himself to the world of fashion and completed a tailoring apprenticeship at Jil Sander. Please don’t say anything. It’s really pure coincidence that I’ve landed on this topic again today, when it’s supposed to be about a restaurant. Go right ahead, but you should know that Ralf Schulte’s decades of working on almost every continent have shaped the atmosphere at The Newport and the way he interacts with his team and his suppliers.
The path led Ralf to Singapore for a year directly after his training. He then completed a degree in business administration. He continued to work for his then-employer on weekends while studying and was responsible for large budgets early in his career. After completing his studies, he moved back to his old home in the Sauerland region for just under a year before joining the OTTO Group, which was an exciting time for him as he developed new procurement markets. Turkey, India, Nepal, Romania, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka…. The countless impressions and experiences from these years have shaped Ralf Schulte and strengthened his ability to think in a solution-oriented manner. He is a man for whom the world was never black or white. In 2003, he set up his own business as a wholesaler and management consultant and moved into an office in the Media Docks in Lübeck.
From sailor to restaurateur
Ralf learned to sail as part of the company sports program at the OTTO Group. First sailing trips led with chartered boats on the beloved Baltic Sea. The first own boat was a Folkeboat, with which the sailing area in southern Denmark was explored. Ralf tells me about the incomparable feeling of happiness to spend the day at sea, to enter a small harbor in the evening and to end the evening in a restaurant with fish and seafood of the region.
After one of these trips, he stood with a pot of coffee in his hand at the window of his office in the Media Docks with a view of the harbor sheds and the water of the Trave and asked himself why there was no marina in Lübeck like the ones he had seen in many places in Denmark. What began as an idea took shape in Ralf Schulte’s mind. He set about planning for a marina with an attached restaurant on the eastern shore of the Wall Peninsula. Not realizing that it would take two and a half years to get the necessary permits. His patience and diplomatic skills from his time negotiating with people from a wide variety of cultures now came in handy.
As a networker, he always sought to talk to the decision-makers in order to dispel any concerns. He tells me that one of the biggest problems was the accommodation of the sanitary facilities for the guest sailors. The pontoon, which was finally built for this purpose, had caused immense costs, which had never been calculated in this amount. The pontoon was “the most expensive floating toilet in the entire Baltic Sea region.”
The restaurant, located on site in a former blacksmith shop, had undergone several changes of tenants. Ralf Schulte had it completely rebuilt and integrated historical details such as the steel girders of the ceiling construction and an old brick wall into the modern architecture. A light-flooded glass annex was newly built. In 2017, the opening could finally be celebrated.
The Newport Marina
The 50 berths at the chic marina are in high demand. Ships with a length of up to 30 meters find a temporary home here. As a graduate in business administration, Ralf Schulte simply enjoys optimizing processes. And he wants to make it as easy as possible for his guests. This is how he invested in the digitalization of the marina. In advance can be seen on the platform of the marina check in advance whether a place is free. Therefore, no one makes the long trip from the Baltic Sea across the Trave in vain. Berth reservation and payment of fees are handled online. Only The Newport Marina in Lübeck offers this exclusive service throughout Europe.
Currently, an expansion of the port by another 25 places is under consideration by the responsible municipal offices. This also takes a little longer than hoped. But we already know that Ralf Schulte has staying power.
Meanwhile, he offers his marina guests his“Schifflein deck dich” delivery service from the restaurant directly to the boat and is also delighted to have received a special award from the renowned YACHT magazine. This recently included The Newport Marina in the series of the 10 most beautiful city harbors in the Baltic Sea. Here you can read why the experts are so enthusiastic.
The Newport Restaurant
The interior of the restaurant reflects taste and an eye for sustainable and valuable materials. Ralf Schulte’s love for the sea can be felt everywhere. Lovingly selected details decorate the rooms, but do not distract from the essentials: the view of the water, the sailboats, the tower of St. Jakobi and the historic harbor sheds. Restaurant guests sit on high-quality German-made seating at tables made of linoleum, a renewable resource. All light fixtures were custom made specifically for The Newport, and curtains and pillows are faux ray skin. A coherent overall concept that is inviting without being aloof or artificial. Everyone can and should feel comfortable, whether wind-blown directly from the boat, directly after office hours or elegantly dressed for a special occasion.
The dishes are simply all unbelievably delicious. Whatever you order: you will be thrilled. The chef and his team are always creating new favorite dishes. It is nothing new that good cuisine only works with good raw materials. At The Newport you can taste the freshness and quality of the products used. I really like the fact that I can drop by here quickly for a currywurst. But likewise for a multi-course menu. The sustainable orientation of the house also fits that no overseas wines are served. The Newport sources its wines from the Lübeck wine house Von Melle.
The restaurant offers lunch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Almost all dishes from the extensive evening menu are offered. In addition, there are two dishes that are prepared specifically for lunch guests. An exquisite breakfast buffet tempts at the weekends from 09.00 am. It’s incredibly popular, which is why I recommend you make a reservation early. Incidentally, this works by telephone, but of course also online. Digital solutions are Ralf Schulte’s thing. And absolutely contemporary!
The best way to stay up to date is to follow The Newport on Instagram follow. So you’ll find out early on what’s fresh on the menu and what else is going on at The Newport: sometimes it’s filming for a thriller and sometimes it’s a kitchen party with live cooking, various food stations and a DJ. Ralf Schulte will certainly be on site. It feels like it’s always there. Not surprisingly, this place on the Trave is his dream come true, which actually began during his childhood vacations.