Those who know me best (or have been paying attention) know that although I’m Seattle’s biggest fan, I was born and raised in pseudo-Bavaria: Leavenworth. Like many who move away from the eastside of the mountain early in life, I’m bringing my footprint back to the valley with a vacation home – and in doing so, I’ve found that my little hometown continues to just get better – particularly where food is involved!
Leavenworth may be best known as a gateway for adventure, as it sits smack-dab at the base of the Cascade mountains with rushing rivers, miles of trails and views that take your breath away. But there’s more to Leavenworth than the outdoors. More restaurants are now focusing on local farms to compliment the Bavarian experience.
Sure, there’s still the same abundance of shopping that I recall from my childhood (hats? steins? knick-knacks anyone?), but I’m finally seeing a hopeful trend towards food and drink. And you know those are two of my favorite things, right? Having spent my teenage years in a dirndl hawking weinerschnitzel and sauerkraut at town’s landmark Edelweiss restaurant, I’m delighted to see a trend for local, sustainable options – with most at an affordable price (according to my west-of-the-mountains food gauge). So as a PSA to friends and traveling followers, I’ve listed (in no particular order) a trove of delicious opportunities in Washington’s German village.
Yodelin Broth Co.
This round-the-corner-and-down-the-stairs broth company may be all about the artisan bone broth and stellar noodles, but it was their burger that blew me away. Mind you, Yodelin‘s Enchantments Burger was $21 – which initially made me balk. Once my tasebuds welcomed this whopper, however, I knew my chances of ever trying their broth was nil. This baby boasts Hempler’s bacon, a healthy dose of black-pepper aioli, white cheddar, avocado, and (wait for it …) they put an egg on it. It’s gooey and messy and out-of-this-world delicious! Find Yodelin’s trove of burgers and broth down the stairs at 633 Front Street.
Whether donning your lederhosen or not, Rhein Haus may be Leavenworth’s new quintessential must-stop. With spectacular views of town happenings from their massive deck, and indoor space gorgeously-adorned with taxidermy and local knick-knacks, Rhein Haus brings their strengths from two Seattle-area restaurants to the heart of Der Town. My fave? A sumptuous plate of Leavenworth Poutine ranks high on my list. Crispy fries heaped with a creamy covering of goulash are the perfect treat for a chilly Oktoberfest afternoon. Something lighter? Enjoy their home-baked pretzels with a heavy dose of emmental-beer fondue!
A new addition in 2017, Sulla Vita has made a name both for their delicious food and their customer service. Two trips to this gem gave me time with both Chris and Tom* – clearly two of the town’s most outstanding examples of customer service.
The beauty of Sulla Vita comes not only from their wood-fired oven, but by having a menu that isn’t overly fussy or complicated and boasts solid offerings for both the solo-traveler or a group. For me, I enjoyed picking, choosing and sharing with a friend (who just happens to pour at Bergdorf Cellars) and reaped the rewards of their no-corkage-fee-for-local-wines policy. Tom, our waiter, made stellar suggestions based on the wine we’d brought – including their speck-wrapped dates, root veggie gratin and a tastebud-pleasing fungi pizza. For under $50 our bellies were full and tastebuds fully-sated. Find Sulla Vita’s tasty tables next to Icicle Brewing at 931 Front Street.
*Heading to L-town anytime soon? Ends up our charming waiter – Tom – is an outdoor enthusiasts dream! In his spare time, he helps visitors craft their ultimate Leavenworth experience – and guides them along the way. Need a best friend in Der Town? Call Tom: www.thetpotexperience.com
Nestled in the thick of downtown Leavenworth’s bustling front street, Mozart’s is perched just above from the town’s iconic Gingerbread Factory (which recently moved from their years-long home a block away). Family-run Mozart’s has more than 20 years of local restaurant experience and most-recently has brought Ron Guenther (of Mountain Home Lodge fame) to the helm. Their team has transformed their space beautifully to create a comfortable European steakhouse, while sourcing ingredients from local farmers and growers. From burgers to steaks to schnitzels and sauerbraten, there’s something for everyone on their upscale menu. Craving a steak? You’ll find Mozart’s above the Gingerbread Factory at 829 Front Street.
Looking for something simpler? Parsley’s Pantry is owned and operated by two local gals. Following local trend, they’re sourcing locally whenever possible, and offer a wide variety of delicious basic deli items. Heading for a picnic on Icicle creek? Grab your basket and fill it with their hearty sandwiches, tasty salads and mouth-watering cookies. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, so you’ll want to plan ahead on this one. Located in the Innsbrucker Building on Hwy 2.
Heading to Leavenworth soon? Reach out for more Oktoberfest tips here: Beers, Brats & Gingerbread, or ping me on Twitter and I’ll tell you where to find the upper valley’s best Eggs Benedict!