Friday, October 3, 2014

Chicago's Authentic German Food and Beer Scene

By guest contributor Eric Zeigler

My name is Eric Zeigler, and if you can’t surmise from my last name, I am of German descent. Even though my family has been in America for many, many generations, I’ve always been fascinated – enthralled if you will, with all things Teutonic. Whether you are talking of cars, the people, or medieval castles, my fascination with Germanic culture has no bounds.

This is especially true when it comes to German food and libations. As a self-proclaimed foodie and hospitality student at Kendall College, I take great pride in seeking out many of the excellent choices that Chicago has to offer in terms of ethnic German restaurants and bars.

One of my favorites is Laschet’s Inn. Far and away, this low-key tudor-style restaurant serves out amazing examples of common German dishes such as Rouladen, Schnitzels and Sauerbraten. Their sausages – Th├╝ringer, Bratwurst and Weisswurst among them are phenomenal examples of basic, hearty fare. If one chooses to eat “lighter”, a perfect meal at Laschet’s would be one of their flown-in-from-Bavaria pretzels and a rare dish called Hackepeter, essentially steak tartar spread over rye bread with chopped onions and capers. All of this can be washed down with what is certainly one of the best selections of imported, on draught German beers in the city. In fact, they recently added one of the rarest – Kloster Andechs, a beer that wasn’t available in America for the past 15 years and is, in my humble opinion, sublimely wonderful.

Lachet's Inn. Photos courtesy of

Those seeking a more “elevated” experience should give The Radler a try. Two established partners in the Chicago scene, Chef Partner Nathan Sears and Managing Partner Adam Hebert, decided to try their hand at elevating German cuisine to a new level, and they have succeeded admirably. Their pickling of vegetables, curing of meats and hand-baked pretzels are all done in-house. They are great supporters of local food purveyors and farmers, and utilize a local suburban brewery to make their house beers. Try the German Onion Pie, a twist on an English shepherd’s pie that is out-of-this-world. One should never pass up house-made charcuterie, and The Radler never disappoints. Venison, pork and boar are transformed into savory delights and are always accompanied by perfectly balanced accoutrement.

Photos by Baskin-White Photography. Courtesy of
There are many more too numerous to mention, but all worth (multiple) visits. Resi’s Bierstube, Mirabell, Huettenbar and the historic Brauhaus round out more of Chicago’s offerings. In the suburbs, the illustrious Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont is astounding, The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, Schniztelplatz in Glendale Heights. The list goes on and on. 

All in all, the Germanic food and beer scene is well-covered in Chicago, and one would be remiss to pass on an opportunity to experience some authentic Gem├╝tlichkeit.

Courtesy of