Oktoberfest NJ: 13 spots for German food & beer year-round
The arrival of fall means it's also time to celebrate Oktoberfest. The name might suggest another turn of the calendar is in order, but the German-born celebration traditionally begins in September and wraps early in October. Lucky for us, New Jersey has some great spots where the spirit lives on, year-round.
I've put together NJ's 13 best restaurants for authentic German food and drink year-round, from A to Z (Asbury's Festhalle to Zeppelin Hall)! Plus, another that's 'sitting the bench' during renovations.
Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten (Monmouth County)
527 Lake Ave., Asbury Park
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten features a 9,000 square foot outdoor rooftop Biergarten and 6,000 square foot indoor hall. There's classic German food- think wursts and schnitzels- plus 31 premium draft beers and over 60 in the bottle, including American craft selections.
Black Forest Inn (Sussex County)
249 Route 206, Stanhope
A landmark restaurant for north Jersey, three generations of the Aichem family are involved in the extensive German menus. The beer menu also is heavier on German selections for authentic pairings.
Jagerstein Biergarten (Hunterdon County)
84 Route 46 East, Delaware (NJ)
908-475-5777 (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
This Hunterdon County restaurant has all the German food standards, with a 'farm to table' edge. Jagerstein has it's own farm, featuring free range livestock. There's also HB bier on tap, with lots of imports and domestic brews.
Kirker's is another longtime north Jersey favorite. It bills its sauerbraten as "award winning" and the menu offers it all - schnitzels, wursts, spatzel, bavarian pretzels and goulasch, potato dumplings. For 'picky' eaters in the crowd, Kirker's also makes a mean thin-crust pizza.
Mickey & Minnie's Inn (Atlantic County)
733 West White Horse Pike, Cologne
609-965-1877 (Closed Mondays)
Just five miles from Atlantic City airport, you'll find a 'little slice' of Europe. The menu includes Wienerschnitzel, plus twists like "Bretzelschnitzel", a pork chop encrusted with pretzel breadcrumbs. Aside from beer, there's an offering of German wines. For the 2016 Oktoberfest season, there's also a German Beer Tap Takeover.
Nik's Wunderbar (Hunterdon County)
454 US-22, Whitehouse Station
A “Bavarian Biergarten” in central Jersey. Traditional food like brats, sauerbraten, leberkas, potato pancakes and other German specialties like bacon sauerkraut. You can pair that with a cold one, as Wunderbar offers between 40 to 50 beers on tap (seasonal). The beer garden provides festive communal seating and hosts special events and live bands.
Pilsenrhaus (Hudson County)
1422 Grand Street, Hoboken
The Haus & Biergarten offers authentic Austro-Hungarian food. A turn-of-the-century bier hall and adjoining, outdoor biergarten. As for drinks, there's over 20 premium drafts and 50 European and American craft beers by the bottle. Reservations are offered for parties of 20 or larger. Kids are welcome until 8 p.m.
Redd’s Biergarten (Essex County)
218 Market Street, Newark
This German Biergarten across from the Prudential Center offers 50 beers on-tap. The menu offers a cross-section of traditional German dishes and "American" fare like burgers and wraps. Plus, there's giant soft pretzels!
Rolf's has the German staples while also branching out into more American fare. It's a good crowd pleaser, for families or friends with Schnitzel lovers and those who'd rather have a burger.
Schneider's (Monmouth County)
801 Main St, Avon-By-The-Sea
The New Jersey family behind Schneider's has been serving up authentic German food for over 54 years. The spot is known for hearty German-Austrian-Hungarian dishes, but also offers family classics like steak, meatloaf, corned beef and more.
Sebastian’s Schnitzelhaus (Burlington County)
43 Fort Dix Street, Wrightstown
609-724-9609 (closed Mondays)
This Burlington County spot is a BYOB offering authentic German cuisine. So, no beers on tap, but you're free to bring your own for dinner. There's also a Sunday brunch, with pfannenkuchen (German Pancakes) and potato pancakes, German potato salad, bratwurst & sauerkraut and more.
Wurstbar (Hudson County)
516 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City
This bar and restaurant in Jersey City serves "fine sausages and fermented liquids", with a definite modern flare. The menu includes 'Ducktails", which is Duck Sausage, Fig Mustard, Arugula, Goat Cheese, Drizzled Honey. Another item to sample is "The Rowan": Irish Banger Sausage, Horseradish Pea Mayo, Fries, Ale Gravy.
Zeppelin Hall Restaurant & Biergarten (Hudson County)
88 Liberty View Drive, Jersey City
This Jersey City biergarten has done brisk business since opening. It offers 144 beers on-tap and an extensive menu- gourmet grilled sausages, schnitzels, burgers, giant pretzels, vegetarian entrees and other hearty fare. There's community seating, with an outdoor area. Kids are welcome until 9 p.m.
CLOSED until 2018: The Dutchman's Brauhaus (Ocean County)
The Dutchman is undergoing renovations, after weathering through storms at the Jersey Shore for 64 years under Schmid family ownership. While the restaurant is closed off, there's still German food for special events, through Spice Catering.
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.