Just because summer is winding down doesn't mean the outdoor festivals are. Oktoberfest is upon us, and this weekend we're heading out to the city's biggest, porkiest one. Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street will once again take over the block for the restaurant's sixth year of honoring fall, beer and food, Munich style.
The traditional German festival is not only a time for autumnal fun; it's one that centers around wonderfully fatty and salty meats and plenty of heady beers. We have a special place in our hearts — and guts — for this kind of seasonal celebration. And let's not forget that traditional German music and dancers will be there too.
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Make sure you come hungry because there will be no shortage of roast pork, brats and soft pretzels. In fact, this year chef Jeremy Nolen and his crew are hoping to beat the restaurant's record from last year: 2,000 pounds of pork consumed. With Nolen estimating 4,000 to 5,000 guests showing up to clink steins and chow down, we wondered if the stress of cooking so much food could make a chef snap — but Nolen remained cool.
"You just cook all day." He says, eerily calm. "We make 600 pounds of bratwurst in-house for the two days before Oktoberfest. We have such a good system going." Nolen, who helped open the restaurant and has been a part of Oktoberfest since its humble beginnings, seems to know exactly what he's doing.
"We try every year to get bigger and better," says Nolen. "Two years ago was our first time shutting down the whole block. No one in the city does anything like ours. It's as close to Munich as you're going to get over here."
Keep the party going with more fall fests
PHS Fall Festival
Looking for a fall fete that's more kid-friendly? Head to the Navy Yard on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p..m, to play in the Kids Zone, shop the Franklin Flea market, stock up on veggies, flowers and plants, toast in the Yards beer garden and, if you're a PHS member, even take home a free plant.
4747 S. Broad St., 215-988-8800, www.phsonline.org
Xfinity Live's version of Oktoberfest includes unlimited samples of over 200 beers, Sept. 27 starting at 2 p.m., for $15 to $60 (the range starts with designated driver and goes up to X-treme VIP). Along with live music, there will be local food trucks with plenty of grub to help you soak up the suds. May we suggest taking the subway?
1100 Pattison Ave., 267-443-6415, www.xfinitylive.com
Craft beer and street food are the main attraction, of course, but this Oktoberfest — actually in October — also helps reinvest money into the neighborhood. Put on in part by the South of South Neighborhood Association, proceeds from beer sales during the Oct. 11 event go to local development projects, so drink up.
South Street from Broad to 18th streets, www.blocktoberfestphilly.com