Check out our current favorites in nearby Fredericksburg, Texas, for a little something unique, from eclectic home antiques to modern art and contemporary fare—all served with a side of German hospitality.
Story and photos by Niki Jones
Texas is steeped in rich history, and it’s no secret there’s nowhere better to soak up some German heritage than in Fredericksburg, Texas, the picturesque Hill Country town of approximately 11,000 residents.
Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 by German immigrants, and many of the descendants of these original families still reside in town and are proud to keep German influences and tradition alive. Many of the shops on Main Street are German-themed, and there are myriad German restaurants in town, many of which have taken their game to the next foodie level. While there are countless spots in Fredericksburg to get plates heaped high with bratwurst and other traditional German fare, true foodies can find some noteworthy and memorable meals they might not expect in this town.
Otto’s German Bistro, set in a quaint house just a block off Main Street, exemplifies a modern take on German food, with its small, ever-changing menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. The duck schnitzel with spaetzle is a must-try specialty. (Two words: duck cracklins!) Otto’s also reigns supreme when it comes to craft cocktails, featuring an evolving cocktail menu that often highlights obscure and interesting ingredients. (Hello, beet-infused mezcal!)
Altdorf Biergarten, located on the west end of Main Street, serves up more traditional German fare and encourages visitors to “eat well and enjoy life.” The spacious restaurant and beer garden offers a wide variety of dishes, including some on the lighter side, like cold-cured smoked salmon with cucumbers, cream cheese, dill and red onions served on pumpernickel bread. Of course, more indulgent German-focused dishes—from the schnitzel burger with mushroom gravy to the jagerschnitzel and even the zwiebelschnitzel (a breaded pork cutlet served with sauteed onions, bacon and brown gravy)—are available for guests wanting to give themselves over to gratification, German-style. Don’t forget to wash it all down with your choice of any number of German brews. Before you shuffle out the door with your full belly in tow, make sure to check out the stone-lined, hand-dug well the owners discovered in the floor during a recent renovation.
A German town wouldn’t be complete without a German bakery, and Old German Bakery & Restaurant is the perfect breakfast spot, whether it’s for a traditional hot German breakfast or the delicious array of pastries, cakes, cookies and bread baked daily. If you miss breakfast, worry not, as some of the restaurant’s specialty plates are definitely worth trying too. (The Berliner currywurst, a dish that includes two fried sausages served with a spicy curry sauce and a side of German potato salad or french fries, will cure whatever ails you!)
Fredericksburg is home to the famous Opa’s Smoked Meats , where “the true flavor of the Texas Hill Country” is on full display. The market and deli is chock-full of wondrous meats, plus an assortment of local condiments and sides, and there are lots of mouthwatering samples for visitors to try.
A couple blocks south of Main Street is a hidden gem called Woerner Warehouse Cafe. Located in a sprawling former feed store, the intimate café sits in the middle of an airy, renovated space filled with a beautifully curated collection of antiques. Soups, salads, beer and wine are served while locals gather leisurely. Here, there is definitely a community vibe that speaks to Fredericksburg’s small- town and welcoming character.
But despite this German village’s hamlet-esque appeal, Fredericksburg also features some lavish spots, including Vaudeville, a home-goods store, gallery and bistro that is the pinnacle of high style. The reinvented classic dishes offered in the basement bistro never disappoint, and the juxtaposition of modern décor, art and furniture inside this historic three-story brick building is absolutely stunning.
In fact, carefully curated homegoods stores have really found their place in today’s Fredericksburg. FarmHaus Antiquesnails it when it comes to the perfect mix of modern and rustic style. The 8,000-square-foot space (soon to include a coffee bar and flower market) features hard-to-find vintage furniture, antiques and art. This is the spot to find beautifully timeworn pieces to turn your home into a one-of-a-kind Texas showroom.
On the other side of Main Street, Auer Haus, a large converted farmhouse, offers unique home furnishings and accessories, including lighting and luxurious bedding, and even has a yard and porch full of outdoor and garden delights.
The coolest-building-conversion award would go to Blackchalk Home and Laundry. Formerly a building where laundry was serviced for hospitals and camps in the 1920s, the space spectacularly lends itself to rooms of charming décor and uncommon gift items. You can’t miss the place; a colossal antique laundry machine sits out front.
It’s always encouraging to see growth in a town like Fredericksburg, but it’s delightful to see the kind of attention to detail the latest crop of restaurants and home-goods shops possess. This sleepy Hill Country town near Austin is fast becoming a world-class destination.
OKTOBERFEST IN TEXAS
Thanks to the breadth of German-influenced locales in the Lone Star State, there’s no shortage of neighborhoods celebrating the annual autumn (and beer-drinking and sausage- noshing) festival that is Oktoberfest. Check out these area communities for this season’s best (and wurst!) Oktoberfest and German celebrations.
Oktoberfest at Beethoven Maennerchor
De Kalb Texas Oktoberfest
De Kalb, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas