Raindrops on roses . schnitzel with noodles

Nicole Capozziello

Upon being seated at Old Bavarian, we were greeted by a clothed ceramic pig, at eye level from its place on the countertop. This was a first in my life, but many other aspects of the restaurant’s atmosphere were not.
Old Bavarian, which I had never been to before Sunday night, immediately reminded me of a Midwestern grandmother’s house. The wall was covered in floral wallpaper and adorned with an array of strange decorations, my favorite of which was an incredibly small set of trousers, suspenders and a pink shirt, placed above the salad bar.
The dining area was softly lit and old German pop blared over the speakers. As I have never been to Germany and have never eaten at a German restaurant before, I had nothing to compare Old Bavarian’s peculiar, kitschy ambiance to – fully dressed ceramic pigs and small goats hiding in trees could very well be prevalent in German restaurants.
As the restaurant at 523 College Ave. so closely resembled the houses of many Midwestern families I have known, I knew the food could go one of two possible routes. Sticking to the decor, it could be the food of the type of grandmother who is inept in the kitchen and each year serves some sort of experimental casserole in lieu of anything actually edible.
Luckily for us, the food went the opposite route and was as authentic as the German accent of our friendly waitress.
Christine and Eddy Schadt, the married co-owners of Old Bavarian, described their food as “traditional German home cooking.” Eddy Schadt represents the third generation of restaurant owners in his family. His grandfather opened a similar restaurant in Germany in 1928.
Almost 80 years later, Eddy and Christine are still carrying on the tradition, someday to be followed by their son Frankie and his wife Tanja, who currently work at the restaurant.
Of course, there have been a few changes over the years, the biggest of which was the family’s move to the United States.
After vacationing in the U.S. yearly for almost 20 years, the Schadts decided to move here for a variety of reasons, including fulfilling a longtime dream as well as not liking the direction in which Germany was going.
They moved to Appleton in 1998 and opened Old Bavarian in 2000.
Despite the big change from Germany to Appleton, the style of food the Schadts serve has remained mostly the same. The Schadts continue to make almost all of the restaurant’s food, even going so far as to order in special spices from Germany.
The restaurant seems to appeal to all age groups; indeed when I was there I saw a couple younger families, an elderly couple, and a teenager who I later found out was eating his birthday meal.
Old Bavarian’s cuisine, not surprisingly, particularly appeals to those of German descent.
Though not very vegetarian friendly, the menu is otherwise quite diverse. The most popular menu items are the kinds of schnitzels, particularly the “j„egerschnitzel.”
Schnitzel is a breaded pork cutlet served in a savory sauce. The schnitzels range in price from $9.95 to $12.95 and are accompanied by either a trip to the salad bar or a cup of soup, as well as a choice of potato.
Sophomore D.J. Brengle went so far as to claim, “There was an empty space in my life before I found schnitzel.”
As a vegetarian, I unfortunately don’t fully understand the schnitzel phenomenon that those who were with me seemed to be experiencing. I would, however, recommend their desserts, particularly the bread pudding or cake.
Outside of their delicious dessert menu, Old Bavarian also offers almost every kind of meat I have ever heard of, including leaner dishes like turkey schnitzel, chicken, and several kinds of seafood.
They also offer eight or so different steak dishes throughout the week and prime rib on Saturdays. There is a children’s menu, appropriately named “Kindergerichte,” which, of course, includes “kinderschnitzel.”
For vegetarians, there is normally a daily soup, a few pasta dishes, and, of course, the salad bar.
The Schadts also own the Cajun Grill attached to Old Bavarian. The Cajun Grill was originally a bar, but following the smoking ban, the Schadts, like many bar owners in Appleton, found that they were unable to keep the bar afloat.
Thus they decided to try their hand at a Cajun restaurant and opened the Cajun Grill last February.
When I asked Christine why they chose to name the restaurant Old Bavarian, she told me about the commanding presence of the state of Germany known as Bavaria.
She described Bavaria as “the biggest, most beautiful area of Germany, like Texas here in the United States.” As I have never been to Texas, I will trust their judgment on this.
While Old Bavarian is different from any restaurant I have ever been to, they definitely know what they are doing. It is worth a try for German culture or cuisine enthusiasts, as well as the curious college student in search of a home-cooked meal.