Sunday, August 17, 2014

Germany in Overton Square - Schweinehaus

It has been just over three months since I posted pictures from inside the then-completely gutted former Paulette's space in Overton Square that is being reborn as Schweinehaus. In that short period of time the building has completely transformed into a German restaurant/beer hall with an outdoor beer garden.


The restaurant's grand opening will be in two weeks on September 1. But owner David Scott Walker is a longtime friend who I met my first day living on the University of Memphis campus as a college freshman back in 1997. So yesterday he invited me over to take a look inside, drink a few lagers and sample some menu items.

Walker isn't going to just put some sausages and sauerkraut on a menu and call his place a German restaurant. Sausages and sauerkraut will definitely be available, but he and chef David Todd are crafting a fairly extensive menu of well-executed German foods with enough options to make sure everyone from vegetarians to hardcore carnivores can enjoy themselves.



The restaurant is a true family business. I met Walker's brother, Andy Walker, that same day I arrived at the U of M in '97. Andy is a longtime bartender who will be running the bar at Schweinehaus while helping with the restaurant's operation. Andy and father Stan Walker also handbuilt all the restaurant's tables and benches.


When I posted pictures from inside the building three months ago there was nothing but dirt and trenches where old plumbing had been dug out where the brand new kitchen is now.

One of the dishes chef David Todd was experimenting with was a sauerbraten made with braised beef brisket.


Todd was also working on perfecting the restaurant's vegetarian SpƤtzle.


Both the dishes I tried yesterday were superb. I also sampled some pork shoulder, sausages, meatballs and fresh pretzels a few weeks earlier at the Walker household where the two chef Davids were working on menu items and getting familiar with the new smoker they purchased at Memphis Barbeque Supply for use at the restaurant. As someone who lives a short bicycle ride from Overton Square I've immensely enjoyed its recent resurgence. Schweinehaus is a great addition to the Square that fits in perfectly with the area's atmosphere while offering a unique experience from any of the other establishments there.


Schweinehaus on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

  1. Really good update and pictures. I am glad the character of the interior has been preserved. I really look forward to sampling some of the vegetarian fare. What can we expect in the way of German and dark beers?

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    1. There are ten taps for draft beer. The Walker brothers said seven of them will be dedicated to German beers while the other three will be used for a rotating selection of local craft beers.

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  2. I hear Chef David Todd is very talented. Looking forward to trying some of his dishes. He worked at several high end restaurants in Memphis. The interior looks great as well. I am looking forward to tasting the food and experiencing the atmosphere. -John Byeew.

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  3. I am absolutely terrified about this and insanely worried. The guy who is opening this does not even seem to know a German person, has he ever actually been to Germany? If it's true that the chef has worked in several high end restaurants in Memphis that is absolutely in no way reassuring because that doesn't mean you can make authentic German food. Just the other day my German mother was complaining about how she found it ridiculous that in Americans people can open Italian or German or Greek restaurants without actually being from that country and butcher the traditions, language, and food of that country without anyone batting an eyelash.If you cannot spell "Biergarten" you should not be opening a German restaurant where you make people think that they will be receiving authentic German cuisine. I'm sure this will be an absolute insult to Germany and the amazing food that you can find there but silly Americans who traveled their once upon a time 20 years ago will believe it's amazing and authentic and still keep this abomination in business.

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    1. It is spelled biergarten in the restaurant, I just went with the Americanized spelling in this post assuming it would be what most readers were familiar with. There is no reason to be "terrified" and "insanely worried." I ate there Thursday night for friends and family night and again Sunday night for the soft opening. All the food I've eaten there has been really good. Also, as someone who loved German beers I am glad to have such a good selection on draft around the corner from my house. Give the place a try. If you like the food, go back. If it doesn't meet your standards for German food, don't go back.

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    2. In one of his facebook posts he spelled it "beirgarten" the spelling on the menu is disgusting and absolutely insulting. He claims to be "25% local influence" but is coming across as an ignorant American ruining a foreign language and culture, who will be sure to offend and upset many actual German people in his attempt to make a few bucks from something he seems to have absolutely no knowledge of. It's disgusting and he should be ashamed of himself.

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    3. Chill HitlerLover69

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  4. Damn ! Then dont dare venture down the street to that "mis-spelled" dog named restaurant ("Chiwawa") ! It will offend all P.E.T.A members and Hispanics, garaunteed.

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  5. "Walker isn't going to just put some sausages and sauerkraut on a menu and call his place a German restaurant. "

    But he did just that. It's lazy and uninspired. The food tastes horrible to anybody who's had any experience in a German-speaking country. And to chalk spelling mistakes up to "Oh, that's our way of assimilating it" is just plain insulting. It's like saying, passing a ketchup-slathered steak as Memphis Barbecue. There has been extensive chat in the German expat-community about this, but I doubt many of us will give this more than two tries...

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