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Choosing the right restaurant is the first and most important step in any dining out experience. In Chattanooga, we’re fortunate to have scores of eateries offering virtually any type of cuisine your rumbling belly desires. Dozens of Latin, scores of Asian and double handfuls of European, Mediterranean and Indian restaurants form a virtual U.N. of flavors destined to entice you. But if you’re craving German food and your Oma is off playing bingo, there is only one place in the Scenic City that can satisfy your need for German feed—and that’s Brewhaus.
Owners Hunter Hart and Michael Robinson opened Brewhaus at 224 Frazier Avenue in 2011 on one of the few North Shore lots that can boast actual parking spaces. The family-style seating in the dining area, hearty German-style food and abundant selection of beer is meant to pay homage to Brauhauses found all across Germany, but Hart is quick to point out that the menu is a German-American interpretation of typical brauhaus food that not so subtly suggests its connection back to the classic American food that Chattanoogans know and love.
Although it was tempting to sit on the deck and take in the relaxing view of Coolidge Park, my friends and I opted for a seat at one of the long tables in the main dining area. Naturally, when you take a seat in a German restaurant called Brewhaus, your mind will quickly wander towards the malted beverage selection. I zeroed in on a bottle of pale, refreshing German hefe-weisse, while my friends were a bit more indecisive—understandable given the long, well-curated list of not just German beers, but some of the best craft beers available in this area.
After scanning the food menu, we slowly raised our eyes to meet each other’s glance in a silent, binding pact to abandon all diets and doctors’ advice so that we could savor the wondrous carbs and meats that were about to be laid before us. I made the first move and ordered Bavarian House Nachos. Normally, those are two things that don’t coexist on a plate, but this brilliant culinary innovation replaces boring tortilla chips with a plateful of silver-dollar-sized, crispy potato cakes, and then tops them with handfuls of melty cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato and sour cream. They were so filling I barely had room to sample the hubcap-sized Bavarian pretzel that came with house-made cider mustard, horseradish mustard, and my favorite, the cherry ale mustard. These beasts are baked to soft, chewy perfection at the Bluff View bakery every morning, then hand delivered by a Von Trapp child to the rear entrance of the restaurant…at least, she says she’s a Von Trapp.
As the entrees arrived at our table, things began to spin out of control. Forks and knives jabbed and skewered their way into meats and various incarnations of potato in a beer-fueled feeding frenzy. I managed to get a few bites of everything and somehow protect the majority of my own meal while sustaining only minor fork wounds.
First, I went for the Glockenspeil burger: a half-pound beef burger topped with a touch of sauerkraut, sweet pickled beets, a thick slice of melted Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato on a soft, buttery pretzel roll. Every part of your tongue will sit up and sing in harmony as the sweet beets provide a perfect foil against the savory beef and slight tang of the sauerkraut.
Next I made a successful play for a few bites of Currywurst. If you’ve never experienced this king of German street food, it’s a guilty pleasure made of grilled wurst (sausage) that is sliced and sautéed in a spicy tomato curry sauce, then served with potatoes. Brewhaus serves their Currywurst atop a mound of chunky hash-brown-style potatoes with two sides. I recommend the beir cabbage for its tangy contrast to the rich tomato sauce and the spaetzle, because you can never go wrong with spaetzle. Imagine if mac & cheese married alfredo sauce and they had a baby that was raised by Chuck Norris…it’s just that awesome.
Now it was time to return to home base and enjoy what was left of my own entree, the Brewhaha. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t pass up a good sausage—and these are really good sausages. The Brewhaha has a grilled, beer-marinated brat snuggled up next to a smoked sausage lounging on a bed of tangy sauerkraut. This pork romance is accompanied by German potato salad (no mayo, this is a vinegar-based potato salad), ale mustard, and a vegetable medley that I assume is there as part of a witness protection program.
Somehow, someone had the presence of mind to order fried apple pie for dessert. The cinnamon butter ice cream that came with it almost stole the show from the pie itself. I would have a more complete description of the taste, but I could only get one bite before my dining companions devoured it like a swarm of piranha. I can’t take these people anywhere.
Brewhaus German-American Gastropub is a one of a kind restaurant in Chattanooga with hearty, delicious food, a friendly, casual atmosphere and a well-curated, well-rounded beer selection.
“Hilft das Bier gegen den Durst,
stillt den Hunger eine Wurst.”
Brewhaus German-American Gastropub, 224 Frazier Ave.
Hours: Sunday 11a.m. - 10p.m.
Mon. - Thurs. 11a.m. - 12a.m.
Fri. - Sat. 11a.m. - 2a.m.