Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant is a Columbus staple, and in my opinion, a treasure. It originated as J. Fred Schmidt's Meat Packing House in 1886. Schmidt had moved to south Columbus from Germany in the 1880s. The restaurant is in the heart of German Village, a historic neighborhood of Columbus that was home to the large German population. The golden era began in the mid 1800s, running up until World War I.
All of this only reminds how much more research I still have to do on my German roots here locally. My German surnames in Columbus date back to 1849. The surnames are Gatterdam, Hartung, Karst and Eberts.
The Hartung's home on Third Street. They resided there around 1900.
The Hartung's home on Third Street is a six minute walk away from Schmidts (0.3 miles). German Village as it stands today is a must see but I can only imagine what it was like in it's glory days. Here is a quote from the local newspaper in 1855, "Der Westbote", from the German Village Society
"The people who live in these small houses work very hard. You will not find silver on the doors, but you will find many little gardens which produce vegetables for the city’s market. You will not find silk or other very expensive things; but the houses are very clean, the people work hard, and are very healthy, and they are very happy.”
The most recent trip to Schmidt's has been the first with my more realized German heritage. The small brick roads and modest size houses try to take you back to the late 1800s. The restaurant itself opened in 1967, with the building seemingly much older (in a good way). Parking can be a nightmare but you will be rewarded. The waiting staff are dressed in traditional garb, blending in with the decor of the restaurant. Normally Guinness is my first choice but I felt like it would make more sense to go with the house dark, Schmidt's Dark. Whether you are new to Schmidt's or a veteran, you can't go wrong with the "German Autobahn Buffett".
My second plate
My plate(s) included their Bahama Mama (I make sure to get one whenever I see one of their tents at the fair or other such events), German Knockwurst, Garlic Knockwurst, Green Beans und Spatzel, German Sweet Kraut and my favorite that I avoided ignorantly for years, German Potato Salad.
Yes, you will want some dessert but get it to go so you can enjoy it later. Their desserts are so good that they deserve to be enjoyed separately. They are best known for their cream puffs but I think the real star is the Banana Cream Pie.
My mother has received a Banana Cream Pie from Schimdt's from my father for her birthday for as long as I can remember. That is probably one of the reasons I had a sentimental feeling for Schmidt's even before I knew how German I was.
If you find yourself in Columbus, or just passing through, don't make the mistake of not going to Schmidt's. German Village is a historic neighborhood that is modernly functional and Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant is the cornerstone.