Gunk Haus Restaurant – German Fare at its Best
Stepping into Gunk Haus Restaurant is a bit like stepping into someone’s German home or their grandmother’s home: warm, cozy and smelling all so delicious. Gunk Haus Restaurant in Ulster County, NY is one of those places where it feels homey. The seating area by the bar has an area with a benches and pillows and a dining room table.
Luckily for us Hudson Valleyers, Gunk Haus Restaurant is a special and beloved place. Serving great German comfort food, their dining room is never empty and their patrons leave very satisfied each and every time.
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The History of Gunk Haus Restaurant
Before Gunk Haus was what it is today, it was a boarding house, a Depression-era Italian restaurant and lastly “The Hollywood Bar”. This Jamaican Bar and dance club had been a staple in the area for more than 30 years. With a bar, pool table and dance floor, Freddy Elliot stood behind the bar and took care of his customers and friends. This location was a place where the Jamaicans came to enjoy a good laugh, stories and memories from their country and a good time.
German Comfort Food at Gunk Haus Restaurant
387 South Street, Highland
Serving great German food has been at the heart of Gunk Haus Restaurant for more than ten years and by looking at the clientele and speaking to the patrons, it looks like it will be here for way more than that.
You can’t miss this establishment with its mustard-colored exterior and grand outdoor covered patio area.
When we arrived in the evening, it’s lit up facade was hard to miss. But don’t drive too fast (as we did) because you’ll miss the entrance to the lot across the street designated for parking.
When you step inside, the aroma of the food is what welcomes you along with their small Backerei, or bakery, located on the right side of the entrance. Although not open the evening we were there, there were displays of just some of the yummy treats that they make and offer.
Inside there is a bar area to the left of the host station and the main dining room to the right. The bar area reminded me of visiting a relative’s home. Spacious and cozy and the friendly patrons seated at the bar just added to the appeal.
Order a German beer, delicious cocktail (like the cherry juice and hard cider I had), order a starter or meal at the bar and enjoy the atmosphere.
The dining area is also spacious, but not at all crowded. The dining room table set in the middle was perfect for the large group that was there dining during our visit, while the exposed rafters felt rustic and added to the warmth of the room.
The general mood of the restaurant was of family and friendliness. People started conversations with each other at the bar and even while waiting to use the restroom. Here is where I found out that the fireplace is often turned on during colder months and makes the space perfect for a romantic dinner out.
What to Order at Gunk Haus Restaurant
With several gluten free and vegan options, I have been told that everything on the Gunk Haus Restaurant menu is great. Their lunch and dinner menus are different but are filled with many favorites, including:
- Pretzel and Obatzda
- Flammkuchen: A Bavarian flatbread with Bourbon onions, fresh Quark, herbs and Gruyere Cheese
- Haus Salad: Meslcun Greens, Gorgonzola, Pickled Grapes, Bacon Lardons, Candied Walnuts, Fennel and Sherry Vinaigrette
- Quiche of the Day (Lunch)
- Jaeger Schnitzel (Dinner)
- Mushroom and Spinach Panini (Lunch)
- Hungarian Goulash Sandwich (Lunch); just the Goulash (Dinner)
- Haus Burger on a Haus-Made Pretzel Roll (Lunch/Dinner)
- and so much more…
Their menu sometimes changes seasonally, so it’s best to check their website before heading over. And because it’s such a popular place for locals and visitors alike, making reservations are also recommended.
No matter what you order on the menu, you should know that owner, Dirk Schalle takes all things into consideration when placing something on his menu: it’s availability during that season and is conscious of where the ingredients come from and how they are handled.
While scrolling through their Facebook Feed, one example of this is seen in a post about the veal they were serving on their Spring menu. They mention how the calves are allowed to feed freely from their moms and eat grass and not force fed or in cages. They continue to educate their patrons on how this is, in turn, raises the quality of the veal that is being served.
This consciousness makes this a top-notch establishment and one that many people are willing to travel to. In addition, everything is made in house from their freshly baked pretzel buns
When is the best time to visit this lovely German Restaurant?
While an evening dinner at Gunk Haus Restaurant is always a good idea any time of the year, visiting during the warmer months is definitely a plus. I say this because their outdoor open air deck offers magnificent views of apple orchards and the ever popular Shawangunk Mountains. Even the roof of the outdoor deck showcases the beauty of the sky above, so you never feel closed in.
Enjoy a meal and a delicious cocktail or German beer while admiring this beautiful area of the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Like I previously mentioned, make sure to call and make reservations, because Gunk Haus Restaurant a popular place for many and I can definitely see why.
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More Things to do Near Gunk Haus Restaurant:
Until the Next Adventure…
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