By Kim North Shine
What other celebration is almost all about beer – bier – than Oktoberfest, a celebration born in Germany in 1810 on the occasion of Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage, which naturally called for a special brew to mark the day. All these years later Oktoberfest brings on celebrations tied to suds. Get it this weekend before it’s over!
Authentic German restaurants – and many bars and microbreweries – tap special Oktoberfest kegs just for the occasion. And don’t forget the German food, from apple strudel to wiener schnitzel to go with it. Plenty of metro Detroit restaurants and bars get it on the Oktoberfest action, but look to these German spots for authenticity, Oktoberfest or not, if you’re looking to channel your inner German bier lover.

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The Dakota Inn Rathskellar
17324 John R. Street
Detroit, MI 48203
(313) 867-9722
Annual Oktoberfest celebration runs every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29.
Hours: Mon to Wed 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Thurs 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri to Sat 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
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When you say German food, people say Dakota Inn. After 78 years it’s proven it has staying power and the formula to keep the customers coming back. The formula is food+beer+sing-alongs, which equals fun. A piano player also entertains patrons sitting at long tables. Here you see the meaning of eat, drink and be merry. With so many tasty foods on the menu, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but don’t pass up the kartoffelpuffer – potato pancakes with applesauce. The big hall feels like a piece of Germany. It wouldn’t be a proper German restaurant if it didn’t incorporate the telltale style of Bavarian architecture and with family pictures and trophy animal heads hanging on the walls, it feels like stepping into a German home or club – or tourist attraction. It’s what the founder was going for when he transformed a Chinese laundry in Detroit into a business that reminded him of his childhood home in Wikersheim, Germany.

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Jacoby’s German Biergarten
624 Brush Street
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7067
Hours: Mon to Wed 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Thurs to Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sun 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Jacoby’s, a snug, worn and trusty restaurant in bar, is located in what was once Detroit’s Germantown. The 100-year-old restaurant’s biergarten is a comfy place to drink in some of the 100s of beers, nearly 25 of them German. On the menu are the tried-and-true German standards of schnitzel, pork chops (kassler rippchen), German sausage, meatballs, and steak in a seasoned sauce. Jacoby’s strays from traditional German fare, offering burgers, sandwiches, jalapeno poppers and a Mandarin chicken salad, to name a few. Most are good, but stay strong and stick to the When in Rome (or German restaurant) mentality. Come often enough to this place known as Detroit’s oldest saloon and everyone will know your name.

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Metzger’s German Restaurant
305 N. Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 668-8987
Hours: Mon to Wed 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Thurs to Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
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Another oldie but goody. Metzger’s has served authentic German for more than 80 years.

The family-owned restaurant has indoor and outdoor searing and has also mixed in American dishes with the German offerings of food and beer.

Our family restaurant is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a full service bar and outdoor seating available (permitting weather). Traditional German dishes, Classic American dishes, and fresh salads are just a few of our specialties. Being a family owned and operated restaurant ensures that if you are a regular or a new customer you will enjoy your dining experience each and every time you walk through our doors

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Richters Chalet
23920 Michigan Ave,
Dearborn, MI 48124
(313) 565-0484
Hours: Sun noon – 7 p.m.; Tues to Thurs 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Fri 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat – noon – 7 p.m.
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Richter’s Chalet is another go-to spot if it’s German you’re looking for. The restaurant prides itself on staying true to its beginnings, not jumping on trends. That means the décor – and to a degree the affordable prices – are a nod to the past. The chalet with exposed timbers and heavy Bavarian décor seats 150 at its white-tableclothed tables with German banners streaming from the ceiling. Sauerbraten, jaeger schnitzel and German potato salad and other classics are on the menu at Richter’s Chalet, which often wins Best of German restaurant awards. While German food can be filling, leave room for desserts. Richter’s sets itself apart in the desserts department.

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Heidelberg Restaurant
215 N. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 663-7758
Hours: Mon to Sat 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sun 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
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This 50-year-old establishment offers German food to meet a German’s tastes with beers galore to wash it down. German wines, Schnapps are plentiful too. This could be considered high-end German and it’s no uncommon to see special occasions celebrated here. The Heidelberg is three floors of German. One floor, the Alpine Dining Room is mostly about the eating, but of course the German beers and wines are liquors are available there as well. The rathskellar on another level is more bar than restaurant with darts to play American food and beer thrown in “for the less adventurous,” the restaurant says. A new addition is the Heidelberg Poker Room has opened in place of the Alcove Club. The poker room is the site of tournaments benefiting charities.

Kim North Shine is a Detroit-area freelance writer with German roots on her mother’s side and a beer gene from her father.