Until recent years, Chicago always had three great German restaurants: Chicago Brauhaus, Zum Deutchen Eck, and Berghoff.
The years and economy have changed this. Zum Deutchen Eck is gone. The Berghoff family nearly ran their restaurant out of business then wisely scaled it back to survive. The Chicago Brauhaus has not changed one bit since it opened its doors decades ago.
The former two grew too pretentious and expensive. They fell victim to their own arrogance and the economy. The Brauhaus' business model was simple and thrived. Serve great tasting German food, from traditional recipes, in a friendly environment. This great dining hall is plain, clean, well managed, fun, has a dance floor and often live German music.
The wait is short and everyone is talkative, friendly, and in a good mood. This place is a slice of the real Germany, in the USA, not an American restaurant trying to be a white-linen version of this plain, simple, delicious fare.
I personally recommend the smoked kassler rippchen, hasenpfeffer, any sausage dish, sauerkraut, and spaetzle. The beer is great, the atmosphere cheerful, service fast but not annoying and you just may find yourself dancing with one of your table mates.
I have eaten here all my life, at least 3 times per year and often more. I was in the place decades ago when Germany won the World Cup and everything was suddenly "on the house". Try it. You will have fun and you will see why this place has outlasted all the others.
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