Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

On German Restaurants

Joe Knippenberg referred here to the imminent closing of Berghoff’s, a traditional German restaurant in Chicago. Looking back, I tried to arrange a dinner there in early December for a Liberty Fund conference, and found the sales staff strangely unwilling to accommodate our group’s needs. At the time I found it baffling, but now it makes perfect sense--a classic case of short timer’s attitude.

In my reference to the Jacob Wirth in Boston, I failed to mention one of its most striking characteristics--a gigantic old bar that occupies most of one wall. The workmanship is amazing, although it shows signs of wear; after all, it’s experienced over 125 years of heavy use. But what I found most interesting of all were the Latin words that appear near the top of the enormous structure: "Suum Cuique." Not having ever studied Latin, I asked the bartender (oddly, an Irish lass with a pronounced accent) what it meant. "To each his own," she replied. A damn fine thing to have on a bar, I think.

I also happened to notice one potential reason why the Jacob Wirth continues to do well--it serves a lot of American fare. Our table was close to the kitchen, and I think I saw more burgers than anything else going out to the diners.

Incidentally, I would steer Ohioans who enjoy German food to Zum Rathskeller, which for years was a private dining room for members of the Columbus Maennerchor. Today it’s open to the public, with a fine selection of authentic German foods. And when the Rathskeller has a sing-along, it’s real German beer-hall music. When we went to the Jacob Wirth for their sing-along, the piano player was banging out...The Eagles. And here I was, my lungs all set for a rousing chorus of "Du, du, liebst mir im Herzen," or, better yet, the "Schnitzelbank." I blame American cultural imperialism.

Discussions - 3 Comments

All isn’t yet lost. Herr Professor Doktor Jon Schaff has a Chicago alternative. I’d also invite you to my mom’s, but they’re not quite ready for visitors in the new house.

While midwest based, not biased, NLT’s is a political blog, and all politics end up in DC.
When I was a resident of metro DC in the mid/late 70’s there was only one German resturant to go to and it’s still there:
Old Europe,,
Of course, as a native of San Francisco, Hans Speckmann’s was the finest German restuarant I’ve ever eaten at, gone now as is most of the best of that city,
Remaining in SF, however, is another world class German eatery, Schroeders

I must say, the best German food I’ve had in my life was at a place called the Bayern Stube in a little town called Gibson City, Illinois, about a half-hour from Urbana-Champaign. Every February they hold a "Hunter’s Feast" with a special menu including such delicacies as quail and wild boar.

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