Plump, house-made sausages, delightfully tart sauerkraut, an awesome selection of about 100 international brews, and bocce ball courts create a formula for some serious European-flavored fun. Occupying a cavernous 10,000-square-foot space across from Seattle University, a great new beer hall and restaurant brings Bavaria to Capitol Hill, and it opened Sunday, Feb. 10. Introducing, Von Trapp’s.
A former 1940s candy factory located at 912 12th Ave., this palatial 420-seat establishment brings to mind Munich’s iconic Hofbräuhaus, with long tables and benches, lofty ceilings, and a touch of Old World grandeur with its gorgeous Viennese chandeliers and three elegant bars. As with their other ventures — Bastille Café & Bar, Poquitos, and Macleod’s Scottish Pub — veteran restaurateurs James Weimann and Deming Maclise have created an inviting, modern space with a distinctive international flavor. Linger with friends over a Spaten lager and a juicy bratwurst in the airy main sitting area or hunker down with spiced wine in the fireside den, and you’ll understand the meaning of "Gemütlichkeit," the famous German concept of coziness and well-being.
The restaurant’s laid-back style is reflected in its varied menu of Germanic comfort food. Chef Pete Fjosne, the erstwhile sous chef at Bastille, includes such classics as potato pancakes, schnitzels, pizza-like "flammkuchen," and an impossibly unctuous "käsespätzle," a Southern German egg noodle specialty with mild cheese and onions fried to salty, crispy perfection, topped with an oven-dried tomato. Try the yummy "leberkäse" sandwich: a slice of "meatloaf" reminiscent of bologna and garnished with braised red cabbage and sweet mustard.
The sausages, however, are the biggest stars. The kitchen uses a mighty Buffalo Chopper meat grinder and top-notch ingredients to prepare mouthwatering cold cuts and wursts from scratch, from cheddarwurst to kielbasa to tiny Nuremberg sausages. Dripping with juice, they pair marvelously with the house sauerkraut and make a satisfying crunch with each bite.
To wash it all down, there’s no shortage of options. The beer hall offers 25 drafts on a rotating basis as well as countless bottled brews. From Veltins Pilsner to hearty Paulaner Salvator, Belgian tripels, and nitro beers such as North Coast’s Old Rasputin, the European and West Coast selections appeal to every taste. Bastille’s bar manager Erik Carlson also designed an exciting cocktail list, including eminently drinkable beer-based concoctions such as Edelweiss Punch, weissbier with rum, apricot brandy, and nutmeg.
Fans of bocce can reserve courts, though courts will also be available for walk-ins (or stumble-ins emboldened by the aforementioned punch).
Gather your friends and get your Gemütlichkeit on at Von Trapp’s. For more info, visit www.vontrapps.com.