As a person of German heritage, I find it my duty to do something to celebrate Oktoberfest. While the traditional Oktoberfest is actually held the end of September, we waited until October to feast on German food and beer. There are only a few German restaurants in the Twin Cities, and we decided on the typically rowdy Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit in Northeast Minneapolis.
Gasthof is a popular hangout for college students because of their well-known Boot that they fill with beer to be shared, or drank alone for the especially rowdy. There is even a set of rules to go along with drinking Das Boot: it can never touch the table until it is empty; after drinking, you must flick the glass with you finger before passing; always drink with the toe facing out; if you get splashed in the face, you must drink again; the person who drank from Das Boot immediately preceding the person to empty Das Boot must purchase the next fill.
Besides the beer drinking in the basement bar, Gasthof also serves traditional, homemade German food in the upstairs restaurant. The inside of the restaurant looks exactly like you would imagine a German guest house to look, with a dark interior filled with rustic wooden beams and wood tables. The waitresses are even dressed the part in traditional dirndl outfits.
Most of the food at Gasthof focuses on meat, especially breaded veal or pork and sausages. There are a few chicken and seafood entrees, as well as one vegetarian option. In short, if you don’t like meat, don’t come to Gasthof for dinner. Since we were celebrating Oktoberfest, we decided to order their Bayrische Hausplatte (Bavarian House Platter). The menu says this platter is for two, but it comes with enough meat to serve about four people. The platter included smoked pork chops, pan-fried pork loin, beef rolled with bacon and German sausage. Platters are also served with mashed potatoes, spätzle, sauerkraut, Bavarian dumplings, and red cabbage. The meal is finished with a shot of Apfelkorn liqueur. There is no other way to describe this meal than a heart attack on a plate. There is so much meat on the platter that it is almost overwhelming and unappetizing to look at for the fain of heart. You really have to love meat to enjoy this meal on a regular basis. But, it truly is the perfect place to celebrate Oktoberfest. You can’t get much more authentically German than Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit.
Gasthof also offers traditional German desserts to cap off your meat-induced coma. The menu includes a Black Forest Cake and Chocolate Chambord Cake, but we went with the traditional Apfelstrudel. The strudel was delicious with a flaky pastry crust filled with tart apples, sweet raisins and crunchy nuts. It was topped with a creamy vanilla sauce. Besides the Apfelkorn liqueur, this was the perfect ending to the meal.
One other important thing to note about Gasthof is that they have great entertainment. An accordion player dressed in traditional German attire circles the room playing German favorites and really getting the restaurant patrons involved. Even if you aren’t German, you leave the restaurant feeling as if you are.
When you go:Gasthof is located in Northeast Minneapolis at 2300 University Avenue NE. They celebrate Oktoberfest the last two weekends in September and the first two weekends in October with live music, entertainment and food in a tent in the parking lot. They are only open for dinner and are not open on Mondays. You can check their website for other days that they are closed. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 612 – 781 – 3860.