So, when a new German restaurant, Der Biergarten, opened recently in downtown Atlanta by the Aquarium, I was eager to try it out. So, my friend Elaine and my daughter Alison and I went for lunch on a recent Sunday. We thought it was a good sign that several German-speaking groups were leaving as we arrived. The outside terrace was also promising--authentic German fest tables, flags, and signs. However, it was too hot to sit outside and so we went on in . . . to find a very non-authentic (but air-conditioned!) restaurant that looked like it might have been a minimalist Asian sports bar. Although they were out of several items, the service was friendly and fast, the beer was good (real German beer in real German beer glasses), the food was not bad. Alison thought probably the only authentic German person in the place might be the chef. We had decent O'batza (cheese ball) for an appetizer, wurst, red cabbage, potato salad, jaeger-schnitzel (with mushroom gravy), and spaetzle which were all good. No chance for dessert; they were all sold out. Our recommendations for them:
- Get better outfits for the wait-staff than t-shirts and jeans.
- Get someone to work there who at least looks like they might be German.
- Teach them a few phrases in German or get someone who can speak it (we think they may bet a lot of German tourists).
- Have available what's on the menu.
- Get authentic beer coasters.
- Get some German decor! (I have enough in boxes to decorate the place!)
- Play oom-pah music instead of classical.
- Put EuroSport on the big screen televisions.
- Put the menu in both German and English with more explanation.
- Sell souvenirs.
- Hire Alison and/or me as a consultant.
So, does Atlanta have a good German restaurant yet? No, but there is hope. One can always drive 130 miles to Augusta and eat at The Augsburg Haus. Now, there is real German food! They recently moved to a new location, so I don't know if it's as cute as the old one, but hopefully the food and beer are just as good. I've eaten there a couple of times and really love their Roulade (Beef steak roll stuffed with bacon, pickle, onion, and mustard and served with spaetzle and red cabbage).
Guten appetit! (Below, real Nuernberger bratwurt and kraut in Munich)