It’s not quite October yet, but it’s never too soon to fill up on beer and bratwurst. Oktoberfest celebrations are already under way in Munich, so we’re ready to do Prince Ludwig proud. and so is Harald Neuweg. The owner of Fritz & Franz German/Austrian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables is organizing big public bashes in both cities, bringing plenty of oompah to mark the wedding of the Bavarian crown prince more than 200 years ago. The first celebration will take place this weekend on the Riverside Hotel lawn on Las Olas Boulevard; the Coral Gables event is at the restaurant’s Bierhaus plaza. Both will feature traditional foods, giant mugs of beer, live music (practice your chicken dance) and lots of Lederhosen sightings. If you don’t make it to the parties, and even if you do, Neuweg offers schnitzel, spätzle and other Teutonic faves all year long.
Ambience: The Fort Lauderdale venue has a mixture of booths and wood tables, including communal seating for big parties. Colorful crests representing the nine provinces of Austria, Neuweg’s homeland, are hung over the bar, which offers five German beers on tap and 21 by the bottle. The new Fritz & Franz (the original opened in the Gables in 2003) is one of three restaurants Neuweg launched in 2011 in a 12,000-square-foot, two-story building; the other venues are Bouillabaisse and the jazz club Satchmo (reopening in November).
- Sweet, helpful & accommodating servers
- Schweinshaxen (a crisp roasted pork shank) – a Wednesday night special so popular that fans usually call ahead to reserve
- A 12-inch pretzel
- Liptauer, a savory, paprika-spiced cheese spread
- The Brettljausen – a generous plate with sliced meats and cheeses, including prosciutto and soft, zesty knockwurst
- Marinated salads with a vinegar-tweaked tang
- Lightly battered schnitzels made with lean cuts of pork, meat, chicken or veal
- Buttery spätzle
- Beef goulash – big chunks of meat simmered in a paprika broth
- Sauerbraten – a sweet-and-sour pot roast offset by tart red cabbage
- Light and fork-tender thin slices of pork jäger schnitzel with a rich mushroom-bacon gravy
- Classic apple strudel, made in-house with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and strawberry and orange sauces