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Are Heartland German restaurants fading away?


Alex
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Or is this just a coincidence?

Auf Wiedersehen, Schnitzelbank (after 72 years)

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I am proud to state that The Bohemian Cafe in Omaha is still open, and one of my favorite haunts when I am in Omaha over the lunch hour.

But, as a trend, this is quite sad. There are too few places I know that serve goulash, dumplings, rabbit, and duck.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Jumer's certainly exists as an empire in the Quad Cities area. I don't recall the restaurants being all that German as far as the cuisine though. More like your standard "upscale" Midwestern dining. I ate at the Jumer's Lodge in Bettendorf or wherever several times and it was fun with the hunting-lodge type atmosphere but I thought the food was just OK. Maybe someone can correct me; it's been a few years.

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I was just talking last night to a friend about Golden Ox and about how much we missed it. So many of the old-skool Chicago Germans have closed, although a few jewels remain. I've always considered their gradual fading away to be a function of dietary political correctness (so to speak) but I'm guessing that the actual reasons why they continue to fade away are more complex than that.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I was just talking last night to a friend about Golden Ox and about how much we missed it.  So many of the old-skool Chicago Germans have closed, although a few jewels remain.  I've always considered their gradual fading away to be a function of dietary political correctness (so to speak) but I'm guessing that the actual reasons why they continue to fade away are more complex than that.

Speaking of old-skool Chicago German, don't forget Zum Echer Deutsch.

now taking bets for The Chicago Brauhaus.

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I was just talking last night to a friend about Golden Ox and about how much we missed it.  So many of the old-skool Chicago Germans have closed, although a few jewels remain.  I've always considered their gradual fading away to be a function of dietary political correctness (so to speak) but I'm guessing that the actual reasons why they continue to fade away are more complex than that.

=R=

Don't forget Edelweiss (708) 452-6040 - 7650 W Irving Park Rd, Norridge, IL

http://www.edelweissdining.com/

The Hackepeter (steak tartar)and the Bayerische Schweinshaxe ( 3 lb. crispy pork shank) come highly recommended by "Mr. Old Chi-Town".

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Also, the Black Forest German restaurant and butcher shop on Waukegan/Dempster in Morton Grove is at risk. The owner of the property has the land for sale to be developed into a strip mall. My husband and I have been talking about the decline of German food in the area for years. It seems that the folks that frequent these places are much older (ok blue hairs) and the german food tradition is not being passed down. We ate at Mirabel last year for a Saturday lunch and we were the youngest there. (We are very middle-age). It did not draw any of the young crowds shopping at the mega strip mall across the street. The same for Black Forest. Now, granted we do eat early because of the kids which is prime senior citizen time, but we have eaten there for Sunday Lunch and the diners are older. (I understand the adjacent bar with german beers on tap attracts a different crowd). Resi Bier Stuba on Irving Park had a younger crowd and was crowded on a Saturday night. It seemed to be more of a bar with tables than a restaurant. Of the three, Mirabel had the better food.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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My questions then is...is this true for all "old world" cuisines? I recall eating fairly recently at some Polish restaurants (including big buffets!) and being surprised about the amount of people, and families with kids...so, is this phenomenom true for other old world style restuarants or are we noticing it just in German food?

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Also, the Black Forest  German restaurant and butcher shop on Waukegan/Dempster in Morton Grove is at risk.  The owner of the property has the land for sale to be developed into a strip mall.  My husband and I have been talking about the decline of German food in the area for years.  It seems that the folks that frequent these places are much older (ok blue hairs) and the german food tradition is not being passed down.  We ate at Mirabel last year for a Saturday lunch and we were the youngest there.  (We are very middle-age).  It did not draw any of the young crowds shopping at the mega strip mall across the street.  The same for Black Forest.  Now, granted we do eat early because of the kids which is prime senior citizen time, but we have eaten there for Sunday Lunch and the diners are older.  (I understand the adjacent bar with german beers on tap attracts a different crowd).  Resi Bier Stuba on Irving Park had a younger crowd and was crowded on a Saturday night. It seemed to be more of a bar with tables than a restaurant.  Of the three, Mirabel had the better food.

I think Mirabell is technically Austrian but still, their food is really great 9 times out of 10 and when I'm in the mood for German, it's often where I go. I also really enjoy Kuhn's in Deerbrook Mall (Deerfield). They have an very good cafe and a great deli. They produce their own corned beef and it is just outstanding. They've survived quite a bit of turmoil at the mall itself, so my guess is that their on solid ground. Come to think of it, their goulash soup is out of this world too!

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Oops-one more thing. I concur that German food can be heavy and fat laden ( is this what you mean as 'political dietary awareness'?) but so is Polish and Mexican food and other cuisines that seem to thrive here. German dumplings, stews and schnitzels can't be any heavier than Polish perogis, Mexican pork guisado and American breaded beef steak sandwhiches.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Oops-one more thing.  I concur that German food can be heavy and fat laden ( is this what you mean as 'political dietary awareness'?) but so is Polish and  Mexican food and other cuisines that seem to thrive here.  German dumplings, stews and schnitzels  can't be any heavier than Polish perogis, Mexican pork guisado and American breaded beef steak sandwhiches.

There aren't really that many Polish restaurants in the Chicago area, especially considering the number of Polish familes we've got here. Polish food is defintely stereotyped as heavy. I think Mexican food (like a lot of takeout Chinese) is often imagined to be less heavy than it is, but still, you can usually get several entrees that are not breaded and fried. If you are trying to eat light, Polish food is more difficult that Mexican. And if you're just kidding yourself about trying to eat light, Mexican is much, much easier to kid yourself with. (I am also sure there are people going to places like Takkatsu and having a fried pork cutlet and thinking they are eating light because hey, japanese food is light.)

I like Kuhn's deli too. Very nice selection of merchandise as well as prepared foods.

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I wonder if the decline in German-related restaurants is more a function of immigration. As mentioned above there is a preponderance of Mexican and a lot of Polish restaurants around. A good part of that may be due to the increase in the number of Latins and Poles into our communities.

When was the last time you heard of anyone emigrating from German to the US?

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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The Polish places on Milwaukee Ave in the city, South of Belmont, are closing and the area is becoming more Mexican. Busy Bee, Senkowski Home Bakery and Orbit just to name a few are long gone. But new Polish places are cropping up in Central Park/Belmont area as well as in Niles on Milwaukee Ave. Kuhn's is good-they really have a great selection of cheese and meats but the bottle beer can be stale. The selection of deli items and salads far exceeds Black Forest (more of a butcher), but the price point at Black Forest is cheaper. I order the Hungarian sausage (hot) at Black Fand it is at least 5 bucks a pound cheaper.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Oops-one more thing.  I concur that German food can be heavy and fat laden ( is this what you mean as 'political dietary awareness'?) but so is Polish and  Mexican food and other cuisines that seem to thrive here.  German dumplings, stews and schnitzels  can't be any heavier than Polish perogis, Mexican pork guisado and American breaded beef steak sandwhiches.

Oh, I don't disagree. If this dynamic of dietary political correctness exsists at all (and again, I'm not sure it does), it's purely a matter of distorted perception and not reality. I just remember someone saying, in reference to German food, "people just don't eat like that these days." I cannot remember the brilliant genius who said it.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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While accounting for ambiance while there, after my travels to Germany, I've always said that if German food was prepared in the US in the same loving way as it is in Germany, there would be a lot more people dining at German restaurants.

I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN’T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!??

--

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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While accounting for ambiance while there, after my travels to Germany, I've always said that if German food was prepared in the US in the same loving way as it is in Germany, there would be a lot more people dining at German restaurants.

I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN’T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!??

--

Willie, could you elaborate on this?

The few times I've eaten at a German restaurant here in the States (I've never been to Germany) I've been sorely disappointed. The only good German food I've had was at a friend's Italian-eclectic restaurant here in Grand Rapids. His sous chef was born and raised in Germany, and when sauerbraten or roladen appeared on the specials menu you could count on it being just like Mutter used to make, maybe better.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Or is this just a coincidence?

Auf Wiedersehen, Schnitzelbank (after 72 years)

There's always the Heidelberg in Ann Arbor.... :unsure: Hey, despite their Salsa Thursdays, their name is German.... :sad:

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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My flickr account

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I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN?T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!??

It's easy to blame it on the cooks, and on the US diners, but there is also a matter of ingredients.

When we lived in Texas, we had a German exchange student for a time. There was a well-known German restaurant north of Austin so, when Anna got homesick, we took her there. She said that the food was delicious. For example, when I asked her if the potato soup was "something your mother makes," she answered, "Yes, but this is better."

The owner/chef was making his rounds, and Anna greeted him in German and he sat down to chat. He said that when he first came to the States, he tried hard to make the pork dishes taste like they did back in Germany, but couldn't. He did a little investigation and discovered that the hogs most commonly raised in the US are a different breed and fed a different diet. So he imported a few German pigs, which he raises himself. Now, he says, the pork tastes 'right.'

Perhaps this is a load of pig hockey, but the food was wonderful.

I do think that the ingredients available make a huge difference. I can tell you that the Mexican food I prepare when in Mexico, and the Mexican food I prepare in the US, containing all sorts of substitutes, often tastes considerably different.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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While accounting for ambiance while there, after my travels to Germany, I've always said that if German food was prepared in the US in the same loving way as it is in Germany, there would be a lot more people dining at German restaurants.

I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN’T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!??

--

Willie, could you elaborate on this?

The few times I've eaten at a German restaurant here in the States (I've never been to Germany) I've been sorely disappointed. The only good German food I've had was at a friend's Italian-eclectic restaurant here in Grand Rapids. His sous chef was born and raised in Germany, and when sauerbraten or roladen appeared on the specials menu you could count on it being just like Mutter used to make, maybe better.

Well, for one thing they do eat far more vegetables than American restaurants seem to give them credit for. For another, the ingredients tend to be more seasonal and so of better quality -- eg there is a very limited season for asparagus, when it is absolutely at its best. And there tends to be a lot of stuff that is not found quite as often on American menus, such as chanterelles and game. They eat more seafood than most people realize. Wurst is more of a snack food, not the main focus it seems to be in American German restaurants. The breads are of course amazing, and yes, the beer is quite good too. :smile:

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I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN’T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!??

--

Willie, could you elaborate on this?

Behemoth posted more eloquently than I could have.

I would also state that the pork comment above I believe to be very true. Most US pork is also pumped to keep up the moisture content as it has become so lean. I’ve found chicken, pork and lamb all taste much different in Europe.

Edited by Sweet Willie (log)
"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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Konditorei Lutz (albeit a bakery/cafe and not a full-scale restaurant), on Montrose, is still going great guns.

Um, funny you should mention that because my Aunt and I stopped there for lunch today and the cafe portion was closed for "renovations". The bakery portion was open, so we consoled ourselves with cakes and chatted up the lady behind the counter. She mentioned that the cafe would not be open for several months and would likely reopen with significant menu changes. Any of you connected Heartland folks know what's up with that? :unsure:

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:biggrin:

Konditorei Lutz (albeit a bakery/cafe and not a full-scale restaurant), on Montrose, is still going great guns.  So, now that I think of it, is Mader's in Milwaukee.

:biggrin:

Lutz's is full scale. They are open for dinner and have lovely chicken paprika, terrific crepes and various Austro-Hungarian specialties. The food is more Austrian. I love Lutz's.

S. Cue

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