Craving a kartoffelsalat? Hankering for a hühnchenbrot? Longing for a landjäger? Then beat a path to Beda’s Biergarten in San Luis Obispo.
Nestled in a former coffeehouse on Lower Broad, the renovated space now sports seating both indoor and out, as well as at the bar. With its casual, energetic vibe, it’s a place where you’re likely to see someone you know from the neighborhood, or just end up chatting with someone sitting next to you.
“This is a German pub as we remember them — the food and the ambiance that we grew up with,” said Beda Schmidthues, who co-owns the biergarten with his wife, Helga. However, he readily admits that “this is not just a family business; this was really a community effort, and a lot of people helped make this happen. Also, I’m really proud of my staff — we couldn’t do any of this without them.”
As for the cuisine at Beda’s (pronounced Bay-dah’s), “it’s real German food, truly German family recipes,” said Schmidthues. However, because he hails from the Düsseldorf area near the Netherlands, the menu reflects the subtle nuances of that region, mostly in the side dishes.
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“If you ask me for German potato salad, I’ll ask you which of the 500 varieties you would like,” said the affable Schmidthues. “There are all these different regions that became Germany, and they all have their version of potato salad, and then there are family differences between the recipes.”
For example, Beda’s Rheinischer kartoffelsalat (potato salad Rhineland style) isn’t the vinegary Bavarian version most would expect. Here, it’s made with a creamy mayonnaise dressing, pickles and onions.
Nonetheless, the fare at Beda’s will be pretty familiar to most. Enjoy some spätzle (a housemade noodle, almost a small dumpling) sautéed in butter with ham and Leerdamer cheese, a kassler rippchen (smoked pork chop), or sauerkrautauflauf (a baked sauerkraut/sausage/mashed potato casserole best described as a German version of shepherd’s pie).
There are also several wursts (sausages) on the menu, such as the currywurst (bratwurst served with housemade curry ketchup), a wurstplatte with your choice of three sausages, and even a knackwurst mit pommes frites für kinder (hot dog and fries for the kids).
Schnitzels (thin, tenderized, breaded and pan-fried meats) are available as well, whether served as a dinner with fries and a salad, or in a chicken or pork schnitzelbrot (schnitzel sandwich). The latter is served on a pretzel roll specially made for Beda’s at Breaking Bread Bakery in San Luis Obispo, as are the restaurant’s döner bread (akin to a flatbread) and pretzels.
Of course, this being a biergarten, there are several draft German beers available, and beer geeks will appreciate that all are served in the appropriately shaped glass (or a whopping beer boot). Choose from the Konig Pilsner (the first beer Schmidthues ever enjoyed), the Erdinger Weisse (a wheat beer), or the classic Früh Kölsch. Additional options include a rotating IPA draft, a gluten-free beer and Bristol’s Cider, plus several local wines that match perfectly with the German fare.
Over the holidays, Beda’s Biergarten will be offering some special seasonal dishes, such as sauerbraten (a German version of pot roast). Again, Schmidthues noted that his version is a regional variation with almonds and raisins that’s a bit sweeter than the Bavarian style.
“We’re also starting to do some winter soups,” he said. “We know soups because Germany has long, cold winters. So we stay in and eat and drink with family and friends!”
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3230 Broad St., #130 (just south of Orcutt Road)
San Luis Obispo
Hours: Daily; Monday-Thursday, lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 4-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 4-9 p.m., Sunday, brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 4-8 p.m.; happy hour drink specials Tuesday-Sunday 2-6 p.m., Monday all day
The scene: An upbeat, neighborhood German-style pub with seating indoors and out.
The cuisine: Authentic German regional cuisine based on family recipes, plus German drafts and local wines.
Expect to spend: Lunch entrées under $10, dinner entrées $10-20, salads $5-8, sides under $5.