First published in the Coastal Courier Newspaper October 2015
It’s October, the time of month where the wind kicks up, the temperatures start to plummet and families prepare their Halloween costumes.
I do happen to fancy Halloween but there is another thing I quite enjoy far more than a Hershey’s Kiss or Snickers Bar.
Man downtown Hinesville was sure a hopping place (ha, get it as in beer hops…but I digress), at least for two years in a row in October of 2009 and 2010. For those two years the entire community crowded into Bradwell Park for October Fest celebrations that were put together by the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, Fort Stewart’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation and of course, Zum Rosenhof German Restaurant.
For an entire weekend downtown transformed in to Bavaria. It was amazing.
Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, oi oi oi
Yep, I can still hear the constant singing of that traditional German toast as folks gathered up their beer steins and gulped down some Warsteiner or Hefeweizen brews.
Before then my only experience with German beer was Becks, Heineken and Lowenbrau, you know the Americanized version of German beer.
It was during these festivals that I got my first taste of Tucher, Warsteiner, Hefeweizen and Gaffel Kolsch beers.
Funny, don’t quite remember much after that.
We haven’t had the street fest the past few years but October definitely pulls my thoughts to munching down a bratwurst sandwich and tipping back a Warsteiner. We might not the festival but we still have Zum Rosenhof.
I have tried nearly all their version of Schnitzels, with my favorites being the Jager Schnitzel and onion Schnitzel.
The pork loin is beaten thin and lightly breaded and fried crisp. The Jager Schnitzel is topped with a rich brown mushroom sauce, while the onion Schnitzel is covered with a mountain of grilled onions.
I love their side salad. The first time I saw the sliced cuts of lettuce and red cabbage topped over some green beans and drizzled with a light creamy sauce with vinegar and dill I wasn’t too sure how it would taste.
Verdict: It was delicious.
Their bratwurst sandwich is hefty and it goes well with their home fries, which are well spiced and different than just regular cut fries.
Their creamy grilled chicken breast lunch special is rich and savory. The sauce is poured over the chicken and regular cut fries. It’s enough to fill you for the rest of your day and it’s definitely worth the price.
I tried their Schweinebraten, a pork roast they slowly simmer until it falls apart at the touch of your fork. It is covered with a thick, savory and deep flavored brown sauce. The potato salad has a distinct zesty flavor and their spatzle is to die for.
Don’t even get me started on their daily selection of decadent cakes and desserts.
But the food at Zum Rosenhof is just half of the experience.
Every time I walk into Zum, the staff is quick to offer a boisterous Guten Tag and the wait staff that know me well enough are also quick to bring me a cold brew.
I love how all the waitresses are decked out in traditional dirndl attire.
It is another one of those Hinesville locations where you feel like you are walking in to have a meal with your family. I’ve often sat at the bar area for dinner next to complete strangers only to walk out knowing I’ve made new friends.
Owner Anka Hinze is quick to offer you a smile and sometimes a hug. Birthday celebrations should always include the two liter Das Boot beer challenge.
I think I did that – once. Can’t remember.
What I do remember was when a fire threatened to take away the one place I knew I could go and get my German on.
It was three weeks before Christmas 2008. An employee came in around 10 a.m. to set up for lunch. She unlocked the front door and slightly opened it when she saw smoke and smelled something burning. It was an unfortunate situation happening just a week after the restaurant had finished an extensive renovation.
But fortunately the fire was contained to the bar and despite a lot of smoke and soot damage the food and the beer was flowing by the second week of February 2009.
That was followed by those two wild and crazy October Fest years.
Nowadays the bars is covered with hanging $1 bills painted in the colors of the German flag or brandishing a personal message written with a sharpie marker.
Even more exciting is the new addition Anka Hinze said they hope to open shortly – Speisekammer German Groceries right next to the restaurant.
I’m looking forward to being able to buy some German staples and take plenty home to experiment with.
The bottom line is that the family friendly and intimate atmosphere found at Zum Rosenhoff make it October Fest all year round.
You don’t have to take my word for it just pass by the place on a Friday and Saturday night and you will see the cars parked along Midway Street. Roll down your window and you can hear folks just having a good time.
Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, oi oi oi
About Zum Rosenhof
Zum Rosenhof German Restaurant is located at 103 B Midway Street. The owners David and Anka Hinze opened the restaurant in 2007 in an old building that once housed the first branch of the Hinesville bank (now known as the Heritage Bank).
Food service runs from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The full bar runs from 11 a.m. until the last person leaves the place. On Saturday dinning is open from 2-9:30 p.m., with the bar open until midnight. They are closed on Sundays. For more information call 876-2191.