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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, December 6

Gapers Block

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Brunch Mon Oct 14 2013

Oktoberfest brunch at Public House

rsz_dsc_2593.jpgWatching my 4%-bodyfat friends run 26.2 miles for leukemia-ridden children always leaves me with a profound sense of ineptitude. Instead of facing the dreaded shin splints (and potential cardiac arrest), I traded in my training sneakers for many nights of raw pasta and Mythbuster reruns. To alleviate this woeful guilt on Marathon day, I decided only a boozy brunch could placate my conscience.

My positive dining experience at the Public House (PH) a few weeks back led me to return, and I was particularly excited about their special Oktoberfest menu, as I'd never really consumed much German food (and as Americans only celebrate foreign holidays involving the profligate use of alcohol). Although Oktoberfest is generally associated with beer and sausage, other commonly -consumed specialties include schnitzel, sauerkraut, and all things potato.

rsz_dsc_2595.jpgFor my brunch, I ordered the homemade pretzel with mustard and munsterfest cheese fondue, a beer brat (pork bratwurst, sauerkraut, onion-apple jam), schnitzel sandwich (breaded veal, butter bun, lemon-caper mayo) and spatzle mac (homemade spatzle, Swiss and white cheddar cheese sauce). I paired this extravagant feast with Ace hard cider and Not Your Father's Root Beer from Small Town Brewery. (At a surprising 10% ABV, Not Your Father's Root Beer tastes exactly like root beer, although I later tragically discovered that they don't sell to consumers.)

rsz_dsc_2594.jpgMy beer-infused bratwurst, topped with caraway-seasoned sauerkraut, didn't taste like much until I lathered it with onion-apple jam, a porky sweet sauce bursting with the flavors of caramelized-onion. Piping hot munsterfest also paired well with the soft homemade pretzel, a croissant-like monstrosity that strayed far from your packaged Synder twists. But my favorite was the schnitzel sandwich, a crispy piece of baby calf tucked within a crispy bun, bits of arugula and capered mayo oozing with each bite. The addition of the three housemade pickle slices, veering on the sweet side, added that perfect hit of acid. Although I could've opted for the potato salad to compliment my sandwich and brat, I stuck with seasoned fries as Public House is particularly proficient in the art of fried foods.

rsz_dsc_2590.jpgOverall, my Bavarian brunch significantly reduced whatever guilt I felt about sitting on my lazy ass during the Chicago Marathon. Gastropubs like PH always impress with their collection of craft drinks, but just because diners are less than sober doesn't mean they skimp on food quality, which is nice as diarrhea should never accompany a hangover. And while portions are quite enormous, let's face it--it's a sports bar. Go big or go home.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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