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Köstlichste! Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant

The entrance to what has become a Columbus restaurant institution
German restaurants in the Bay Area were something of a conundrum for me: the more traditional style "meat-and-potato" styled restaurants such as Suppenkuche and Walzwerk personally seemed a little spendy for what you would end up getting. This perception is much of the reason why Berkeley's Gaumenkitzel, which put a California-twist on traditional German dishes, turned out to a preferred destination when I wanted to delve into this cuisine.

Still, I was really hoping to drop by a more traditional type restaurant one of these days, and my move to Ohio gave me that opportunity in the form of Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant. The fact that the dishes would come in at Columbus-region prices made this visit even more appealing.

This German Village area restaurant, which started as a meat-packing operation in 1886 (the restaurant itself began serving diners in the late 1960s), has in its years of operation become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike; in addition, it has remained a family institution as well, with the fourth generation of the Schmidt family now handling restaurant operations. In 2008, they obtained some national publicity when they were featured along with several other local restaurants in a Columbus-focused Man v. Food episode starring Adam Richman. Most recently, they have expanded their operations into Columbus' flourishing food truck world with their Schmidt's Sausage Truck.

As I approached and entered Schmidt's, I was not surprised to find the restaurant had numerous tourist-friendly trappings: included in these were the Mann und Frau "stick-my-head-in" cutout at the entrance; the polka/oompah music by restaurant regulars Squeezin' N Wheezin'; and plenty of German-themed tchotchkes and other media scattered about the brick-walled interior. I imagine it could be a bit too much for some, especially in combination with the typically large crowds, but I found the atmosphere as a whole quite fun and enjoyable.

The interior of Schmidt's unsurprisingly plays up its German heritage,
and you can't NOT post a picture of their luscious cream puffs.
We were joined for dinner by two eager diners (a very good friend of ours as well as my mother-in-law, both of whom have distinct German generational lines) with both of them as well as my spouse itching to visit Schmidt's after a several year absence. Thankfully, our wait for a table wasn't too long and, after some debate as to whether to go the buffet route, we all decided to order various of their traditional dinner dishes.

Our two guests both ordered the Bavarian Cabbage Rolls topped with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese ($13.50), while my spouse ordered the Alpine Chicken Spatzel ($12.75), a combo of grilled whole breast chicken sliced and served on German spatzel noodles, peppers, mushrooms and onions with garlic-basil sauce.  All dinner dishes are served with two side dishes of the diner's choosing.

With this being my first visit to the restaurant, I dove into a Schmidt's standard by ordering the Bahama Mama Sausage Platter ($11.75). This more flavorful-spicy than heat-spicy sausage was served with a hot-dog style bun along with sauerkraut, potato salad and applesauce.

My spouse and my mother-in-law also supplemented their meals with a beer; Schmidt's has a decent collection of both Euro-centric and local brews, including two special house beers produced by Columbus-based Elevator Brewing.

Clockwise from top left: Bahama Mama Sausage Platter, Alpine Chicken
Spatzel, sample Schmidt's menu, and Bavarian Cabbage Rolls
Some of us also decided to grab a dessert to take home. Our friend spotted the German Chocolate Cake ($5.25) in the pastry case while we were waiting to be seated, and could not resist taking a slice home. As for us, Schmidt's renowned half-pound cream puffs (these mountainous creations are enough of a reason to start your meal with dessert at times) normally would be calling our name. However, since that actually was the last (and only) thing I had had from Schmidt's prior to this visit, we brought back some of their Apple Strudel ($5.25) instead. Their strudel, which structure wise reminded us more of an apple pie, was a pleasant sweet treat later that night.

Simply put, Schmidt's serves hearty comfort fare in a fun and welcoming atmosphere. These dishes may not be wow-inducing, but they are quite tasty and satisfying in their own right; our happy smiles and full bellies at the end of the night pretty much sealed the deal on what was a dandy experience for all of us.

Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant
240 East Kossuth Street (German Village)
Columbus, OH  43206
(614) 444-6808
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