Back in 2006 I spent some time living with my brother in Düsseldorf, Germany. He let me crash in his small but efficient apartment in the lovely neighborhood of Oberkassel, located on the west side of the beautiful Rhine River. During my time there I worked, made friends for life, drank the best beer in the world and ate some really amazing food. The freshly baked breads, brilliantly colored produce and decadent pastries are just the beginning of what culinary treasure Germany has to offer.
One of my favorite things that I took home was a German Cookbook, given to me by the mother of my boyfriend at the time. I loved reading and studying it for hours upon end.
After I returned to the States it was a bit of a transition back into a new time zone and routine. On one particularly tough day, I asked my Stepdad to make me one of the recipes out of my cookbook, a scrumptious beef roulade. I had been missing my friends terribly, but after eating this dish it somehow gave me a small amount of comfort. I had such a wonderful life changing experience while I was in Europe and the food transports me back there in an instant. I’m now in my early thirties, married, with two spirited boys in tow. I’ve always had the desire to take my family back to Germany and share the food and culture with them. I know it’ll happen someday but let’s get real, traveling to Europe is not cheap. Luckily for me, we have a restaurant just a short drive away that has been serving up authentic German fare for over 25 years. The last time I visited I was just a girl, but I distinctly remember the food being delicious and different. I tell my husband stories all the time about the food and restaurants in Europe, but it’s just not the same as actually tasting and smelling it all around you. I decided it was time to get a sitter for the evening and take a trip to Bayern Stube.
My husband and I left the kids at their grandparents and set off on our culinary adventure to Gibson City. The city is very quaint and cozy so it’s not hard to find the restaurant. The outside had a bright blue awning with brightly colored flowers in pots and in the window boxes.
When you first enter you pass a big fireplace and a darkly colored wood bar. There are animal heads everywhere, giving it a hunting lodge feel.
We were seated in a corner booth of the main dining area and I started to take a look around. The wooden beams, chairs, tables and color of the walls reminded me of breweries I had been to in Germany, minus the dark heavy carpet. The walls are decorated in German steins, plates, artwork, pans and carvings, just to name a few. It is a bit touristy but the food makes up for it 100%. Plus it was fun to take it all in while we were waiting for or meal.
Our waitress, while not overly friendly, was attentive and knowledgeable. As we looked over the menus we enjoyed the fragrant basket of bread, that included a spicy, smokey sausage spread. The fresh bread comes from the The Bread Company in Champaign.
Before I knew it, it was time to order, and of course I already knew what I would be getting. My absolutely favorite dish of all time, the Jager Schnitzel with mushroom sauce (jager schnitzel means the hunter’s schnitzel). Schnitzel is a boneless meat cutlet, tenderized, coated with flour, egg and breadcrumbs then pan fried. I also ordered an appetizer of the Cheese Spätzle, german dumplings that look like noodles, sautéed with Swiss cheese and onions. The spätzle was tender and the onions added a nice texture and sweetness. The warm, stringy swiss cheese added to the decadence of the dish.
The Jager Schnitzel was golden brown and crispy just like it should be. The glossy brown sauce was salty and rich and the mushrooms added a slight earthiness.
I closed my eyes as I ate and it took me straight back to Brauerei Schumacher, my favorite brewery in Dusseldorf. I would go there all the time with my big brother to enjoy a nice Alt and then proceed to eat schnitzel until I couldn’t eat anymore.
The potatoes that were served along side the Schnitzel were just how I had them in Germany. They were crisp and deliciously salty from the bacon. I washed it all down with light and crisp Paulander Munchen beer, a pale blond beer from Munich.
My husband ordered the Nova Lox as his main dish. It is thinly sliced salmon on top of warm crispy potato pancakes served with honey dill dijon sauce. It’s garnished with hard-boiled eggs, raw onion, salty capers, crisp pickles and a fresh green salad.
As soon as we had cleaned our plates I was ready to order dessert. I barely had any room left, but who knew when I would be here again. We decided on the apple-raisin strudel. It tasted like a basic pre-made puff pastry filled with apples and raisins. Pretty tasty. It was dusted with powdered sugar with whipped cream on the side.
The food is as delicious and authentic as it was when I was a child. Having traveled to Germany as an adult, I have an even greater appreciation of how authentic and heart-warming the food at Bayern Stube truly is. On your next special occasion, I recommend you load the family in the car and take a road trip to Gibson City to try it for yourself. Guten Appetit!
209 N Sangamon Ave
Gibson City, IL 60936
Phone: (217) 784-8304
Closed on Mondays