I was still on a quest to find a good German restaurant. The Schweinhaus in Bellingham had good sausages and sauerkraut, but was missing some components (like a roof.) After expanding my search area I came across Gretchen’s Delights in Lynden. Laura was busy with Furman work, so I decided to head out to see if this would fit the bill. TLDR; version – It didn’t.
I have long lamented the dearth of German restaurants in town. There are three of them – Schwaben Haus, Bavarian Pretzel Factory, and Hans and Franz. Compare that to the number of Asian and Hispanic restaurants of different varieties dotting the culinary landscape. This is even more surprising given that there is such a strong German industrial presence with BMW and others.
I voiced these concerns on the Greenville Subreddit, asking if anyone knew of any other options. The list included the usual suspects, including Gerhard’s in Spartanburg (which I still need to try) and my two favorites – Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville and Black Forest in Arden. Unfortunately, all three of those are quite a drive. I wouldn’t call them exacty…”Greenville.”
Each of the local places has been disappointing in one aspect or another. Bavarian Pretzel Factory is pricey, and their quality seems to be declining. I think they overextended themselves with the move to Haywood Road. Schwaben Haus has excellent food, but is expensive and doesn’t have some of my favorites – simple wurst and kraut. That would be kind of like going to The Peddler Steakhouse and ordering a hamburger. That leaves Hans and Franz, and my long troubled experience with it. My fellow Redditors insisted that I give it another try, so I did…
Of all the ethnic holidays, I think I like Oktoberfest the best. It brings with it hints of cooler weather, fall colors, and one of my favorite cuisines – German food. However, fellow kayaker and chef Darren M. recently pointed out that authentic Oktoberfest has a very specific date range – two weeks running from late September through the first week of October. Any restaurants or festivals advertising Oktoberfest this late in the year (such as Walhalla this weekend, but I guess a fake Norse town can have a fake Bavarian celebration any time it wants) is doing so purely for advertising promotion. I guess it’s not that different from seeing Halloween ads all October, or promoting Christmas just as soon as the after school sales end. That being said, when my friend Keith Dover proposed heading up to Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville to take advantage of their Oktoberfest specials, I jumped at the chance, cultural authenticity be damned.
I have long complained about the dearth of German restaurants in the area, especially with BMW and all the other German industry in town. But, I guess that number is increasing. Joining Haus Edelweiss and Schwaben Haus are Hans und Franz and The Bavarian Pretzel Factory. Even Strossner’s Bakery is now on the list of places offering German food. German restaurants seem to be more prevalent on up in the mountains, I guess hearkening back to the Alpine nature of Bavaria. Both The Black Forest in Ardin and Haus Heidelberg have been long-time staples of German food in our region. However, I don’t get up that way often enough to take advantage of them. This was the first time I’d been to Haus Heidelberg in ages.
The drive up early Wednesday evening was spectacular. The October sky was brilliantly lit with the setting sun, and the leaves are just shy of being at peak. Keith and I drove on up through Flat Rock, enjoying the ride.
I had decided to ride up toward Hendersonville and Asheville for a Sunday drive. While driving through Hendersonville I spotted Haus Heidleberg, and it reminded me of the hole that had been left in Greenville’s ethnic cuisine since the closing of Haus Edleweiss last year. That also got me craving German food. It was too … Read More “Black Forest German” »