Fall is in the air. You can smell it. Cooler temperatures are just on the horizon (fingers crossed). Football will soon be blaring on television both Saturdays and Sundays, while families fire up their grills. These things make up what we think of as autumn in America…. But in parts of Europe, this time of year conjures up something a little different: Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is observed annually in Germany, Austria and Hungary as a festive celebration filled with music, dancing, food, and, of course, beer. If you’d like to experience a tantalizing taste of Oktoberfest stateside, more specifically right here in downtown Plano, you can discover it in a cozy little family-owned restaurant called Jörg’s Café Vienna.
Owner Jörg Fercher explained Oktoberfest in a nutshell: “It’s really a wedding festival [that started] in Germany,” he said, “where the Kaiser invited everybody in Munich to come and eat and drink and have a good time.” Instead of starting in October like the name implies, the festival now begins in September due to more favorable weather conditions there.
This year Jörg’s restaurant will celebrate the opening of its Oktoberfest celebration on Friday, September 16, and will continue each Friday and Saturday for the next three weeks. “We’re going to have special Oktoberfest beers on draught,” says Jörg. “They’re being made just for Oktoberfest season. We’re also going to have special smoked meats and sausages for the celebration.”
The atmosphere at Jörg’s Café Vienna is friendly and inviting. “Our restaurant is like an extension of our private dining room,” says Jörg, “so it’s like if you could come to my house, [except] it’s just a little bigger.” Servers at Jörg’s are always dressed in traditional dirndl and lederhosen, creating an authentic Austrian feel year-round.
Jörg has a special relationship with many of his patrons. “We have over 60 different repeat customers, and we are very happy and thankful for that. It’s like friends coming over for dinner,” he said. This Old World dining destination has been likened by many regulars to their very own Austrian Cheers, so the feeling is certainly mutual.
Jörg Fercher grew up in Carinthia, a province of Southern Austria, not far from northern Italy. He learned his love of cooking from his mother, Erika, who taught culinary arts. In addition to cooking, he also developed a passion for the visual arts. In fact, Jörg is a partner at Ten 20 Gallery, also located in downtown Plano.
The menu is full of old family recipes. The Liptauer Teller (warm pretzel bread served with Liptauer, a traditional Austrian cheese spread) is a tried-and-true start to any meal at Jörg’s. Alternatively, diners may choose to embark on their Austrian culinary adventure with the Wurst Sampler, fried Camembert cheese or Wiener schnitzel sliders.
For the main course, try one of the famous veal schnitzels (Jörg’s favorite), or choose from other hearty proteins like chicken cutlets, Austrian beef stew (his Mamma’s recipe), or the Butcher’s Plate, comprised by two types of bratwurst, a double-smoked pork chop with sauerkraut and delicious Austrian potato salad.
Enjoy sides including lingonberries, braised red cabbage or sauerkraut, Austrian potato salad, cucumber salad, or a traditional Austrian spätzle, a homemade pasta that more than suffices as comfort food.
Wash it all down with a nice Austrian or German beer, wine or your choice of liquor. It is Oktoberfest, after all.
With summer winding down and kids back in school, you still have time to take a trip to Austria and Oktoberfest – it’s right down the street in Plano at Jörg’s Café Vienna.Jörg’s Cafe Vienna >