Willkommen to the Egg Harbor Festhaus and Biergarten, an authentic German eatery in the heart of Egg Harbor City. Featuring homemade, traditional German dishes and a large menu of German beers, the Festhaus is a delicious celebration of German culture. “There’s a strong German heritage in this area and there are not many places to find authentic German food,” says Bob Lund, co-owner of the Egg Harbor Festhaus and Biergarten along with his wife Anne.

The Lunds saw a unique lapse in dining options and seized on the opportunity to offer something different when they opened the Festhaus on May 24. “We’ve wanted to start our own business for a long time and we’re just big fans of German food,” Lund says. Noting that both he and Anne have strong ties to German heritage. “Anne’s mother was Mennonite and many of the recipes we serve in the restaurant have been prepared in Anne’s family for more than 100 years,” Lund says.

Munchin’ like in Muenchen

Frankfurters, bratwurst and schnitzel … oh my! The Festhaus is quickly becoming known for its traditional German dishes. While it was easy for the Lunds to know what they wanted to serve, bringing it to a commercial kitchen was a whole other story. “It’s one thing to prepare these family recipes at home for a get together, but a whole different thing in a restaurant,” Lund says, adding that Anne got her commercial kitchen management certification while they were preparing to open.

They offer a variety of schnitzel, often considered the quintessential German dish. Schnitzel is a thin cut of meat, coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a crispy deliciousness. Schnitzel options include; chicken ($18), pork ($18) and veal ($20). “Our schnitzel is made fresh, in house,” Lund says.

Their traditional wurst platter ($19) is another popular dish and offers a choice of two: bratwurst, knockwurst and bockwurst. All platters are served with a choice of traditional sides including red cabbage, sauerkraut, German potato salad, apple sauce, creamed cabbage, French fries, mashed potatoes and spaetzle.

Another popular selection is the German mac n’ cheese appetizer ($7), traditional spaetzle baked with beer cheese. And, you can’t go to a traditional German restaurant without trying their massive Bavarian pretzel ($9), served with cheese sauce and mustard.

Prosit

The large selection of authentic German beers will have you screaming Ein Prosit (or cheers) like you’re at Octoberfest. The Festaus features six German beers on tap, with plans to add two more in the coming weeks. “We redid the draft system so that we could accommodate the extra-large kegs of beer that are shipped directly from Germany,” Lund says. Some German favorites include Warsteiner, Paulaner and Spaten. “We also offer a large selection of domestic beers and craft beers, including Hidden Sands which is brewed in Egg Harbor Township,” Lund says. In addition to beer, the Festhaus offers a full bar including wine, mixed drinks and plenty of schnapps.

Gemutlichkeit

The Festhaus is located inside of the historic Roesch Hotel, built in 1890. When the Lunds purchased the building, the Roesch Hotel was an Irish Pub. “We’ve known the previous owners for a long time and they really gave us some great advice when we took over,” Lund says, adding, with a laugh, that converting an Irish pub to a German Biergarten required painting over a lot of green. However, the bones to the building and the natural woodwork were done in the tradition of the German heritage in place at the time of construction. “When the hotel was built in the 1800s, Egg Harbor City was probably about 90 percent German,” Lund says. The Lunds accentuated the traditional dark wood details with light, cream paint and traditional German antiques.

With all the tradition in place, the Lunds have focused all their attention on creating “Gemutlichkeit,” which is a German-American saying for a state of being, like a foodie’s nirvana. “It’s all about an atmosphere that brings good food, good drink and good company together,” Lund says.

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