Every once in a while you may find yourself at Georgia Tech or simply near downtown. If you’re looking for a filling meal, Der Biergarten is the place. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your age), Der Biergarten, which translates to “The Beer Garden,” is considerably more enjoyable if you are over 21. Who would have guessed?  Der Biergarten has more than 50 beers to choose from, most being genuine German beers. That being said, the food is just as authentic. The menu is varied with traditional options such as different types of bratwurst, potato pancakes, schnitzels and cabbage. With a charming outdoor patio, you can make the most of Atlanta’s warm nights, or you can choose to dine inside surrounded by German décor.

Working for the acclaimed chef Wolfgang Puck, who was born in Austria, has given me an appreciation for German and Austrian food. Initially, the food can be intimidating, but be willing to try something you haven’t previously and you will probably be happy you did. Bratwurst is an essential item to have, so is the potato salad. One of the best appetizers, in my opinion, is the riesenbretzel, a giant baked pretzel served with three types of mustard. If you haven’t noticed already, much of the food is rich and homey. I can assure you no one is counting calories here. German cuisine is not for the dieters or light eaters – you go to enjoy some stick-to-your-ribs food. So why stop at the pretzel? Someone in your party must order one of the schnitzels, which is near and dear to my heart.   cooked the wiener schnitzel at Wolfgang’s restaurant for two years and appreciate what a simple dish it is, although it has many variations. Try it wherever it’s on a menu, and you will find various places prepare it with slight differences.

If you do not show up with a big party, you will sit family style with other diners. This only adds to the experience and the convivial ambiance is complemented by the home-style food. A tall glass of beer or two will only add to the happy vibes felt throughout the restaurant and help to wash down your hearty meal. Going with a group of around five and enjoying the patio is my recommended way of dining at Der Biergarten. This way, everyone can sample many different dishes and beers. A party of this size can also order the König Ludwig Platte (serves around six people), which I like to call “The Greatest Hits Plate,” because it contains all of the classic items (schnitzels, ham, sausages, potato salad, sauerkraut, cabbage and spätzle). What doesn’t sound good on that plate? (OK, I’ll admit, maybe sauerkraut isn’t everyone’s favorite.) It truly is difficult to order wrong at a place like this, but one thing is certain no matter what you order – don’t skip your workout the next day.

– By Ethan Samuels

Photo courtesy of Ethan Samuels