Our family likes to celebrate our German heritage by sitting around a table and enjoying not only each others company, but good traditional food. Traditionally around Cleveland, there are not too many conveniently located German restaurants. I suppose that is why our family goes out of our way to make sure we stop at some of our favorite German restaurants in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cincinnati.
It was a couple years ago when our family was traveling through Cincinnati, Ohio and Newport, Kentucky (across the Ohio River from each other) that we asked locals for recommendations on there to eat. It was at that point we were directed to visit Hofbräuhaus Newport, and history would be sealed on experiencing the traditional German heritage here in the States.
Our family has since visited Hofbräuhaus Newport several times over the past several years, as the family friendly atmosphere, live entertainment, and great food made for a terrific experience.
When we heard the news a year or so ago that Cleveland would be getting their own Hofbräuhaus, our family was elated!
The 24,000 square foot complex is located adjacent to Playhouse Square and combines a new building with the former Hermit Club, the nation’s oldest continuously operating private club devoted to nonprofessional performing arts. The Tudor style building was the perfect fit to meld the Hofbräuhaus theme into the community.
As the soft opening date drew near, we made our plans to make a trip into the city to experience the new Hofbräuhaus Cleveland. While we secured early reservations to visit on opening day, we knew crowds were expected to be high when those reservations were cancelled a couple days prior to the event. So we knew hustling our family of five down as close to the 5:00 opening was going to be imperative to getting a seat.
Fortunately, my in-laws were able to get there right away and “save” us a seat until we could get there at 5:30. Upon our arrival, the music was loud, the beer was flowing, and the place was PACKED! Standing room only within under a half hour of Hofbräuhaus Cleveland’s arrival to the city.
It was a full fledged party, and we were delighted to be a part of it. We happen to be sitting directly in front of the band, so in addition to the loud mass of people, the music made it nearly impossible to talk to anyone, which in a way was great!
As a nervous parent of 5, 3, and 1 year olds, I was not sure how our youngest would deal with the loud sounds. However, it turns out his German blood runs deep, as he dove into eating a giant Bavarian pretzel, sipping on lemonade, and dancing to the music. The only thing we were missing was our lederhosen and dirndls!
Due to the soft opening and MASSIVE crowd, the menu was limited for the evening, which was a terrific blend of German food.
Our family ordered the Schintzel Wiener Art ($17.59)(Breaded pork, Hofbrau potato salad, and cranberry relish); Hofbräuhaus Wurstlplatte ($15.99)(Frankfurter, chicken sausage, and Bratwurst, served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and German mustard); and Kartoffel Suppe (Potato Soup)($5.69)(Traditional creamy potato soup garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions).
Girls also walked around all evening selling freshly made pretzels. While our family has yet to visit the mother land, it surely felt like a little bit of Germany had found its way into our hometown of Cleveland.
With the inside beer hall seating approximately 450 people, and many of the building levels and rooms yet to be open to the public, many people overflowed to the outside 1,000 person beer garden. Hofbräuhaus also did a great job of providing an outside bar and freshly grilled sausages.
Honestly, our family had no idea what to expect as part of the grand opening of Hofbräuhaus Cleveland. The welcome party into our city was a tremendous experience, as the food was miraculously served in under a half hour (on opening day with standing room only, that is impressive) and was FANTASTIC! Dare I even say the food was better than the Hofbräuhaus Newport! The atmosphere of the crowd was addicting, and this coming from a dad that does not drink beer and was not as “influenced” to have fun as those around us.
Seeing as our family spends a great deal of time at the adjacent Playhouse Square, we are so happy to have the Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, as it is the best party in town!
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