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Bear N Mom - Dining Out in Pittsburgh - Octoberfest
Octoberfest is synonomous with Pittsburghers which is home to some of the finest German cuisine and boasts some of the finest German and Bavarian eateries and clubs.
Max's Allegheny Tavern
Now here is an establishment that I can talk about. I've been to this old world restaurant many times and from the heavy wooden bar area to the dining rooms the German atmosphere permeats throughout the restaurant and bar.
Years ago one of my employers held our Christmas Party in their downstairs party room (the Ratskellar). The Buffet was just fabulous with oysters on the half shell and other wonderful appetizers.
Here the German beer flows from the taps and the menu boasts many old world recipes from potato pancakes to the finest schnitzels and German sausages. Sour cream and other accompaniments to their cuisine are all available for your epicurean delight.
If you are planning a party of celebration in the area, you would want to check out their "Ratskeller" which is just their word for the basement party room. In this room you will find a mirror behind the heavy old style wooden frame that centers their bar area. There is plenty of room to host a true German buffet along with dancing to some fine old world tunes.
All of the dining rooms and main bar areas are decorated with a turn of the century motif from wooden booths and tables to the Victorian lighting accompaniments. Upstairs there are fine Victorian parlours where you can entertain your family and guests.
Their catering menu is filled with many Bavarian and German sausage recipes which include German Potato Salad and ending with a selection of their fine Apple Struedel or German Chocolate Cake. Yum, my mouth wass watering so I went to have lunch there today and took the pictures.
I had the potato pancakes (pictured after I had devoured 2 of them). They came with sides of apple chunks, sour cream and sauerbraten gravy. I had never had the sauerbraten gravy before and it took a couple of bites to get used to. It is a sweet and sour gravy but very very tastey. The owner's wife actually makes the apple strudel and it is her family's recipe. The pastry is very flaky and the dessert was very good.
Gaity is just one of the words that describes this restaurant and the staff who make up the year-round Octoberfest atmosphere.
I've been told that the Teutonia Club has some of the best German entrees in the area. Unfortunately, you have to be a member to sample their old world cuisine and I have never been a guest so I can't report as to the truth in this area but I would be remiss to not mention this fine club located on the North Side of the city.
Iron City Brewery is still in existence and "pumping out the iron" to coin a phrase. This is the main beer served in Pittsburgh. Their company was founded by a German immigrant, Edward Frauenheim, in 1861. This brewery was famous for it lager. Iron City Brewery continues to be one of the forerunners in brewing and company pride to its German heritage.
My favorite brewery and ale was made outside of the City of Pittsburgh in Sharpsburg Borough. The old Fort Pitt Brewery covered four blocks of the borough and made some of the finest ale this side of heaven. Their advertising slogan was "Fort Pitt -- That's It" and that said it all. Sadly we lost this brewery and ale house to a fire some years ago.
In the true tradition of Fall, many of the bars and restaurants hold their own versions of Octoberfest. You just can't live through the month without seeing specials on the menu for this German Season.
My own local pub has started to serve potato pancakes, brats and other sausage specials. They are sporting imported beers with the true Bavarian traditions.
Just go to a sports game and walk around the stadiums, I'm sure you will find many Pittsburgh sidewalk and inside restaurants boasting of this unofficial holiday.