Oktoberfest started in 1810 in Bavaria as a wedding celebration. The party goes on every year at restaurants, bars, breweries and pubs across Long Island, where seasonal beers are being poured to accompany all those wursts, all that sauerbraten.
While several German restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk, from Gebhardt’s in Floral Park to the Bavarian Inn of Lake Ronkonkoma, have closed, the cuisine has a steady clientele — even in the era of sushi and fusion.
German cooking is very regional, not limited to the well-known, huskier dishes. The cuisine savors seafood from the northern coast to the sausages and meat loaves in the central and southern states.
Here are some restaurants where you’ll find the flavors of Germany.
Prost Grill & Garten
Prost Grill & Garten (652 Franklin Ave., Garden City): The basic theme is sausages and beer, well-played, in a lively setting and Prost, a union of restaurant and German bierhaus. The brews are good; likewise, the food and mood. Recommended: all wursts; charcuterie; Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese; potato pancakes; German meatballs with cheese and juniper berry; pigs’ “wings” with barbecue and Buffalo-style sauces; sauerbraten with red cabbage and dumpling; sauerbraten cheesesteak; bacon-laced meat loaf with rosemary-mushroom gravy. More info: 516-427-5215, prostgrill.com
A wurst platter includes bratwurst, cheddar bratwurst and knackwurst at Prost Grill & Garten in Garden City.
Black Forest Brew Haus
Black Forest Brew Haus (2015 New Hwy., Farmingdale): Sip house-made beers and enjoy an Oktoberfest menu through Oct. 21. The staples at Black Forest are husky dishes with a German accent. Recommended: tafelspitz, or marinated beef with horseradish sauce, red cabbage and pierogies; grilled bratwurst and sauerkraut on a club roll; Bavarian onion-and-ale soup au gratin; lager-and-cheese fondue with pretzels; dumplings stuffed with Black Forest ham and Muenster cheese; “plowman’s platter” of lager-braised wursts with sauerkraut and German potato salad. More info: 631-391-9500, blackforestbrewhaus.com
Marco Messina, a brew master from Germany, at Black Forest Brew Haus in Farmingdale.
Milleridge Inn (585 N. Broadway, Jericho): The popular inn offers Oktoberfest specials through Oct. 15, to be washed down with $6 beers all day. There’s an oompah band, too. The Oktoberfest menu includes choices such as soft German pretzel; pickled beets in onion salad; cucumber salad with sour cream; potato pancakes with apple sauce; beef goulash with egg noodles, in photo; sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato dumpling; pork schnitzel with red cabbage and potato pancake; wursts with potato salad, sauerkraut and apple sauce. More info: 516-931-2201, milleridgeinn.com.
Accordion player Al Zimmermann entertains at Milleridge Inn in Jericho.
Modern Snack Bar
Modern Snack Bar ( 628 Main Rd., Aquebogue): The homey fare at the North Fork landmark is a combination of American, continental and German dishes. The Wittmeier family started the business in 1950. And the mashed turnips are mandatory to take out, maybe to go with Thanksgiving dinner. Recommended: sauerbraten with red cabbage, potato dumplings and gingersnap gravy; roast loin of pork with potato pancake, sauerkraut and apple sauce; pot roast; and shepherd’s pie made with beef. More info: 631-722-3655, modernsnackbar.com
Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue.
Oak Chalet (1940 Bellmore Ave., Bellmore): The Bellmore establishment opened in 1981. And while you can pick chicken Marsala and steak au poivre, the reason to dine here is very traditional German, on the plate and in the style. Recommended: herring salad; smoked trout with creamed horseradish; Wiener schnitzel plain and a la Holstein; frikadellen with mushroom gravy; smoked pork chops, in photo; sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato dumpling; and the Schlacht Platte of bratwurst, frankfurter, smoked pork chop and potato pancake. More info: 516-826-1700, oakchalet.net
Susan Layton, part owner of Oak Chalet in Bellmore, holds a wurst platter and a large stein of beer.
Plattduetsche Park (1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square): Restaurant and beer hall, Plattduetsche Park celebrates both German cuisine and German culture with food and events that take in live music, dancing and German bands. Recommended: smoked trout with creamed horseradish; spaetzle with onions and Gruyère cheese; Bavarian platter of bratwurst, loin of pork, and smoked pork chop; roasted pork shank with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut; loin of pork on the bone; sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato dumpling; braised beef stuffed with bacon, gherkins, carrots and onion in red-wine gravy; breaded pork schnitzel with cheese and smoked ham; giant imported Munich pretzel with mustard sauce. More info: 516-354-3131, parkrestaurant.com
Apple strudel is served at Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square.
Pumpernickel's (640 Main St., Northport): This Northport mainstay has been serving German classics and continental dishes since 1973. But the German fare marks a clear plurality in diners’ choices. And the look and the brews suggest Teutonic tastes. There’s even an appetizer of bratwurst and sauerkraut. Recommended: herring with sour cream and onions; headcheese vinaigrette; pig’s knuckle with sauerkraut; frikadellen with mushroom gravy; smoked loin of pork with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes; sauerbraten with potato dumplings and red cabbage. More info: 631-757-7959, pumpernickelsofnorthport.com
The Bavarian House Platter is a speciality menu item at Pumpernickel's in Northport.
Shippy's Pumpernickels Restaurant East
Shippy's Pumpernickels Restaurant East (36 Windmill Lane, Southampton): Recommended at this Hamptonian destination for German cooking: smoked oysters; all wursts with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut; beef Rouladen with pickles, onions and bacon; Wiener rostbraten German onion rings; Wiener schnitzel a la Holstein; sauerbraten with potato dumpling and red cabbage. More info: 631-283-0007, shippyspumpernickels.com
Shippy's Pumpernickels Restaurant East in Southampton.
The Village Lanterne
The Village Lanterne (155 N. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst): The spirited restaurant’s ’fest fervor includes live music, lotsa beer and familiar favorites, even as work is under way for expansion to a second floor. Recommended: herring salad; bratwurst Reuben; leberkäse sandwich; pretzel roll with bratwurst and Muenster cheese; sauerbraten Wiener rostbraten; potato pancakes with apple sauce; and the Bavarian combo of sauerbraten, Wiener or jaeger schnitzel and sausage. More info: 631-255-1690, thevillagelanterne.com
Creamed herring is served with sweet gherkin pickles and red onions at The Village Lanterne in Lindenhurst.
Forest Pork Store
Forest Pork Store (380 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station): Unquestionably, the epicenter of German food on Long Island is the Forest Pork Store in Huntington Station, where it’s like Oktoberfest year-round. The very Old World butcher shop opened in Suffolk in 1972, the suburban heir to the now-departed original on Forest Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens. Visit the Huntington Station spot on a Saturday morning or before a holiday, and the crowd will be big and conversations with veteran countermen almost as often in German as in English. The appeal also bridges generations. “It’s been increasing . . . Even younger people jump on the bandwagon, especially at Oktoberfest,” said general manager Bob Marini. All choose from about 30 mustards; more than a dozen sausages or wursts, large and small, smoked and not; six bacons; at least nine hams; seven liverwursts; eight salamis; plus sauerbraten and sauerkraut, leberkäse and bacon-flecked potato salad, all ready to go. Don’t forget about the ham salad, pretzel rolls, steaks and chops and the imports, either. “We do a lot of shipping,” too, said Marini. Locally, big sellers in sausage are bratwurst, the classic made with pork, and weisswurst, the mild veal one. At holidays, there may be especially spicy smoked sausage and kielbasa, too. The pork store’s smokehouse still is in Ridgewood. More info: 631-423-2574, forestporkstore.com