There are plenty of reasons to visit Regensburg, the second-largest city in Bavaria. You could go there to pick up your new BMW, for instance — since their Regensburg factory opened in 1986, five million cars have rolled off the production lines there. Or you could travel there to satisfy a passion for medieval architecture, which the town’s 1,300 buildings from that era would quench. But for the culinary adventurer, the call to Regensburg is the call to Germany’s oldest restaurant: the 800-year-old Alte Wurstkuchl, or “the Old Sausage Kitchen.”
Germany creates 1,200 different kinds of wursts, and every region has one to call its own. In Regensburg, the wurst of choice is the bratwurst. Brat is the German word for “finely chopped meat,” but most contemporary Germans associate brat with the word braten, which means pan-fried or roasted. In the case of Alte Wurstkuchle, that meat is pure pork, and they’re neither pan-fried nor roasted but cooked over charcoal on an ancient stove, visible through a window in the restaurant’s wall.Germany creates 1,200 different kinds of wursts, and every region has one to call its own.
While the place has a minimal number of other dishes — a potato soup and three local specialties: roast pork, marinated beef and a stuffed cabbage called krautwickel — the name of the game here is sausages. Choose six, eight, 10, or 12. They’ll arrive at the table on a bed of sauerkraut that the Kuchl ferments in their cellar. They’re almost addictive, especially when slathered with Wurstkuchl mustard, which they proudly attribute to the “original, historical” recipe of one Elsa Schricker. A blend of honey, mustard, and a soupçon of horseradish, Frau Schricker’s mustard would likely make cardboard taste great. It’s sold at the restaurant. But if you make the mistake of not buying any, you can find it on Amazon straight from the Wurstkuchl.
The Wurstkuchl is a pleasant stop on the side of the Danube, right next to the Old Stone Bridge and down the way from where the Viking River Cruise ships dock. There are 28 seats in the Tavern, 100 on the outdoor terrace, and 65 in the “Strudel Room.” The Wurstkuchl is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.