Magst du deutsche Küche? With Oktoberfest just around the corner, it’s time to enjoy some German food! Columbus has no shortage of German heritage – one of our most famous neighborhoods is German Village, after all – but you don’t need to stay in the village to experience good German food and drink around town. Iss wie ein Deutscher in Columbus.
In German Village, the Hey Hey Bar & Grill is a much-loved dive bar with a pop-up kitchen. The current restaurant – Bebe at the Hey Hey – hails from the Swoop Food Group, and while they’re not exclusively a German restaurant, the Hey Hey’s signature sauerkraut balls are still a menu mainstay.
The Old Mohawk isn’t a dedicated German restaurant either, but it’s an old favorite in German Village, and their menu features a Bratwurst Dinner with sauerkraut, onions, and potato pancakes. Made in Bucyrus, Ohio, the bratwurst features in a sandwich, too.
As their name promises, Wurst und Bier at Worthington Crossroads serves up great German sausages and cold German beer. Diners can sample sausage plates with sauerkraut and horseradish mashed potatoes, breaded chicken schnitzel, Bavarian-style pretzels, and bratwurst, then wash it down with authentic brews from Paulaner, Warsteiner, and Schneider Weisse breweries.
Speaking of pretzels, Brezel in North Market serves hand-rolled Bavarian pretzels of both sweet and salty varieties: jalapeno cheddar, cinnamon sugar, caramel pecan, mango habanero, and many, may more.
Although it’s named for an Austrian composer, Mozart’s Café serves up plenty of German dishes. They stack breakfast platters and burgers with black forest ham, while entrees feature wiener schnitzel with breaded veal or chicken and homemade spatzle. Mozart’s also highlights creative adaptations like savory strudels baked with salmon or asparagus, or a ham and gorgonzola spatzle dinner. Of course, no visit to Mozart’s is complete without sampling a double chocolate torte or a Bavarian apple tart.
Columbus’ most well-known German stop – in the very heart of German Village, naturally – is Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. With over 120 years in business Schmidt’s has earned local and national followers for their German comfort foods. Diners at the restaurant can hit up the buffet line for samples of knockwurst, bratwurst, potato salad, and sauerkraut. Schmidt’s is famous for their Bahama Mama – a sweet and spicy smoked sausage – and their massive cream puffs. What to bring the Schmidt’s to you? Find out where Schmidt’s new Sausage Truck is parked around town!
If you’re just in the mood for German beer, visit Zauber Brewing Company. The brewery’s name comes from the German word for “magic.” Keep an eye on their site for the rotating tap list, but expect to find German styles like the Stodgy Brown (a mellow alt or “old” style), Vertigo Hefeweizen (a tart and hazy wheat beer), Oktoberfest (a malty autumn style), Kitschy Kolsch (a pale ale from Cologne), plus a German porter and a rye beer.
Looking to experience more German heritage in town? Visit the Maennerchor (German for “men’s chorus”), which boasts over 150 years of celebrating German music and culture. A few blocks away on Front Street, the Germania Society resides in the estate of Nicolaus Schlee, brewmaster of the Blenkner-Schlegel Brewery in the early 20th century. Germania is a private club available for rentals, but they also host their own seasonal fests.
Better yet, get a sampling of everything – German food, dance, music, and art – at Columbus Oktoberfest, September 26-28 at the Ohio State Expo Center and Fair grounds. The three-day festival begins with the traditional “Breaking of the Pretzel” and includes local music, games, family fun, and quirky events like dachshund races. New this year: a beer hall featuring Ohio craft breweries.