I have long lamented the dearth of German restaurants in town. There are three of them – Schwaben Haus, Bavarian Pretzel Factory, and Hans and Franz. Compare that to the number of Asian and Hispanic restaurants of different varieties dotting the culinary landscape. This is even more surprising given that there is such a strong German industrial presence with BMW and others.
I voiced these concerns on the Greenville Subreddit, asking if anyone knew of any other options. The list included the usual suspects, including Gerhard’s in Spartanburg (which I still need to try) and my two favorites – Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville and Black Forest in Arden. Unfortunately, all three of those are quite a drive. I wouldn’t call them exacty…”Greenville.”
Each of the local places has been disappointing in one aspect or another. Bavarian Pretzel Factory is pricey, and their quality seems to be declining. I think they overextended themselves with the move to Haywood Road. Schwaben Haus has excellent food, but is expensive and doesn’t have some of my favorites – simple wurst and kraut. That would be kind of like going to The Peddler Steakhouse and ordering a hamburger. That leaves Hans and Franz, and my long troubled experience with it. My fellow Redditors insisted that I give it another try, so I did…
Since this is a revisit, I’m not going to follow my usual review format, but just comment briefly on the meal. First a bit about my previous experiences, and why I had dismissed them as an option.
I had visited Hans and Franz even before they had their grand opening and wrote up a review here. The review was generally positive, and I was hoping them success. I had visited a couple of times since then, and the experiences declined. Service was bad to belligerent, and the quality of food didn’t seem to be good enough to offset those black marks. Reading reviews on Yelp and UrbanSpoon, folks seem to have had similar experiences with bad service.
The ultimate insult was when I ordered my usual wurst platter, and it came with ketchup and mustard already smeared over everything. It was horrible – you don’t even do that to someone’s hot dog. You let them apply the condiments. I never went back.
Hans and Franz is now only open Thursday and Friday for lunch. I had planned to go there Thursday evening, but wound up with other dinner plans. Friday was the day. I arrived, and it wasn’t too crowded.
The decor hadn’t changed. There was still an outdoor biergarten and an eclectic pub-like interior.
I was seated, and proceeded to wait…
and wait, and wait.
Finally the waitress came around to me, and from then on out service was fine. However, I was almost at the point of walking out with ghosts of those other bad reviews floating through my head.
Checking the menu, the first thing I noticed was that they had made a change in the Wurst platter. It now clearly states that the platter comes with their “spicy mustard and curry ketchup.”
Those condiments are already on the table, so why put them on the dish itself?
One thing that surprised me were the beer prices. Beers on draught were about $5, which seemed a bit steep. Even so, I ordered a Warsteiner while I considered lunch.
I could have ordered a less expensive lunch option, but I wanted to compare this with my previous experiences. Forewarned, I asked if I could order the wurst platter WITHOUT the condiments. No problem. Things were looking up.
My food arrived in a timely fashion, and it looked pretty much like German meals I’ve had elsewhere. The waitress brought me a bit of spicy mustard to try in addition to the sweet mustard on the table. I found that the heavier smoked sausage worked well with the sweeter mustard, but the Weisswurst tasted great with the spicy. I wouldn’t have known that if it had come pre-gooped. The sauerkraut and German potato salad were excellent, and it was a delicious meal. My only complaint was that there was no bread served with the meal – a hard roll or something.
I was stuffed, but I wanted to try dessert. I ordered the strudel, which was fantastic.
With dessert and the beer, my meal came to about $30. That’s a bit steep for lunch, but I had ordered from the dinner menu and not the lunch menu. I was completely stuffed, and didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day. I’d had my big meal.
The food is good. I won’t actively avoid the place as long as they are willing to let me doctor my meal as I wish. However, it ain’t cheap. Taste, quality, and price are comparable with Bavarian Pretzel Factory, which is much, much closer.