By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
Prost, prost, prost! Dust off your dirndl and lederhosen – the Oktoberfest-themed Village Brauhaus is on track to open next month.
Located at 710 King St., the new restaurant replaces medieval-themed John Strongbow’s Tavern, and like its predecessor, Village Brauhaus will deliver an international cultural experience.
The German-Austrian restaurant will allow residents to celebrate Oktoberfest all year long with its menu of Bavarian classics such as bratwurst, sauerbraten, pretzels and, of course, beer.
The restaurant is the second concept by newlyweds Bill and Chelsea Gross. They opened Jagerhäus, a beer garden in the Queens borough of New York City, in 2015. Bill Gross said in choosing where to open their second restaurant, the couple had taken into consideration where they would want to move and raise a family. He said they had been sold on Alexandria after visiting relatives in the area.
“We thought this would be the perfect spot,” Gross said. “We just really fell in love with Old Town and its historic charm and people and the cobblestone streets and gas lanterns. It’s just a really cool place to be.”
After getting married in October, the couple moved to Old Town and got to work on the new restaurant. Four short months after leasing the space, they’re on schedule to open in early- to mid-February.
While Jagerhäus in New York has more of a beer garden vibe, Gross said he hopes Village Brauhaus will appeal to Alexandria’s demographic — and target a larger audience — by emphasizing cuisine rather than beer.
“We not just focused on being a beer hall. We’re more of an Oktoberfest-themed German restaurant,” he said. “The inside’s going to feel like being in the Hofbräu tent in Munich, but the food is going to be something around German and Austrian cuisine. We’ll offer a full menu, and there will also be lighter fare as well – bar snacks, things along those lines.”
Gross said the menu items will be composed of quality ingredients, such as sausages that will require a weekly trip to New York for restocking.
“There’s a butcher I work with who’s great in New York,” Gross said. “[He’s a] very traditional German butcher, been around probably 80 years. The original owner came from Germany.”
Beyond food, Gross said the bar is equipped with multiple draft lines for German and Austrian beers, as well as a few seasonal and local varieties. He said the restaurant will also offer a selection of local, craft and domestic bottles, as well as a cocktail menu.
The restaurant will have two main dining spaces: a first floor with traditional restaurant seating and a second floor with beer hall and party seating. The space will feature traditional German décor, including some pieces Gross has been collecting for years, such as the Hofbräu sign that advertises the restaurant on King Street.
It is the combination of food, drink and experience that Gross said he hopes will attract patrons.
“We’re super excited to be able to bring a little bit of a different concept,” he said. “We’re really focused on doing really good food, providing really great service and just hoping to provide an excellent experience for our diners every time they come join us.”