Addison's Oktoberfest Draws Professional Drinkers, Lame Beer, and Great Eats

Categories: Whimsy

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I stopped by the Addison Oktoberfest this Saturday, arriving just past noon to a rising thermometer and an already swelling crowd. I was expecting a sizable event, but nothing like this. With all the food venders representing local Bavarian and German cooking, tents selling decent art, bad art, chicken hats, beer steins and lederhosen, and carnival rides, you could get lost for hours before you even started drinking.

Screw that, though. I had my first beer 4 minutes and 28 seconds after entering the gate.

By 1 p.m. there were already some amateurs unable to support their beer steins, walking with slacked wrists as beer sloshed about and quenched the dry grass under their feet. And by 3 I was feeling like a rookie myself, bloated with doner kebap, potato pancakes and ready for a nap. I left early to take in a museum with family I had in town, but other Observer staffers stayed much later, and reported that lines stayed manageable throughout the entire event.

While people were obviously drunk, it was a laid back and easy going crowd; no drunken high fives here.

The food in the main tent was all rather boring, catered hotel fare, but the little guys did a good job outside. Doner Kebap, potato pancakes, killer strudel, and weird potato chip nacho venders all did brisk business. A stand selling skillet potatoes bathed the entire food area in a blanket of simmering potato pepper and onion aromas. By evening their line was significantly longer than the competition's.

While I'm still assimilating to Dallas from my long-time home in DC, I was really impressed with the event. This city is certainly behind the curve in certain areas -- cocktails and farm-to-table cooking come to mind -- but I can say this for sure: the metroplex kicks the District's ass, and other cities' too, when it comes to Oktoberfest.

Still, I'm paid to bitch about things, so I'm inclined to point out a rather lackluster beer selection. Spaten and Franziskaner sponsored the event and dominated the offerings. I would have liked to see some smaller German breweries represented. And local beer was completely absent. I know the folks at Rahr have a decent Oktoberfest at some area restaurants. They should have had a tent here as well. And try as I might, I never found a plate of bratwurst and sauerkraut. Sad for me.

Now, some of the food:

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Selim's Doner Kebap House offered four different meatsicles.

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While this guy prepared your doner he yelled a phrase at you that had at least 14 syllables. When I asked what he was saying, he replied: kebap.

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Chicken gyro ... not too great

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These potatoes started off looking wonderful, fresh cut and deep fried. Then they brought out bad cheese sauce and bacon bits.

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This was a much better use of potatoes: a pancake with pork, onions and apples was my favorite dish at the event.

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34 comments
gabbahey
gabbahey

As I just returned yesterday from Munich, Germany to attend Oktoberfest and visit with coworkers, I can honestly say, after reading the comments recalling the way the Addison Oktoberfest is run, I will most surely not ever attend the Addison event.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

Can there be a policy that any "fest" that centers around booze have a 'no-kids after 7pm!' rule? The number of small children there saturday night was ridiculous. (Yes, I have a kid, and yes, I don't think every damn place should be family friendly!)

Lee
Lee

Bratwurst and sauerkraut were in the main food tent. I know, because I'm a veggie and had them just double up the sauerkraut and potatoes instead of the brat.

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

During my month-and-a-half in Germany, I ate bratwurst twice, but I had a doner kebap almost everyday. I'd say it's German food, maybe not traditional, but you can't walk ten feet over there without hitting a kebap stand.

brian
brian

want good german or austrian food? go to Kuby's or Cafe Vienna in Plano.

brian
brian

The pork, apples and onions on a potato pancake were the best thing there. so flavorful and delicious. also the price was good

cp
cp

Scott, next Labor Day weekend you really should drive down I-35 an hour and czech out WestFest.....

todd
todd

I don't understand the need for coupons.  IIRC, no coupons were not necessary at Taste of Addison.  That extra line, which was over the top long, really put the kibosh on any kind of fun.  We sold our coupons and went to Snookies where we had average food and beer for a lot less money and waiting.           

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I did not go this year. I have enjoyed the atmosphere over the years, but the food inside the tents is disgusting. the fare is not authentic, tastes either bland, cold or stale, and is not in the least German at all. The best--the ONLY good food--- is outside.

As for the crowded Sat nights, why not build a bigger tent, or have a second one, the way real Oktoberfests do?

Aliecat78
Aliecat78

kebabs at a german fest? yea... that makes sense

Pezlok
Pezlok

I understand why they do it. However, having to purchase tickets to by beer and food really sucks for the consumer. I elected not to stand in long lines for tickets to only then stand in longer beer lines.

dallas_paul
dallas_paul

German beer selection is more likely restricted to how few smaller imported German breweries we get here in Texas. That, plus the fact this is largely a distributor-driven event, and you're left with only the major brands getting taps.

Martingermany
Martingermany

They are trying to be authentic and specifically use the OFFICIAL Oktoberfest beer from Munich. So having any others, while nice, would make it less authentic.

LemmonRind
LemmonRind

so the one bonus you've found in dallas compared to DC is addison's oktoberfest? keep looking or move along.

Bandaidbimbo
Bandaidbimbo

Obviously, you were not around on Saturday evening, when the crowds were RIDICULOUS.  I have photographic evidence if you require such a thing.  There were HUNDREDS and hundreds of people lined up to buy TICKETS to stand in line to buy FOOD, which booths were running out of.  We stood in line for at least forty minutes for a corn dog and some lemonade, but only because it was the SHORTEST of the lines we could find and I was suffering from a case of oops-I-took-my-insulin-and-need-to-eat-immediately.  

We came back on Sunday, early, only to find that the plate you've got pictured above, with the roast pork?  Yeah.  No more pork.  No more kobe beef.  In fact, they were only offering two things off of their original menu by Sunday- the pancake with the applesauce and sour cream (DECIDEDLY less tasty without meat) and something else forgettable and brats served on flatbread (flatbread?!?).  Also, the tent you wrote off as having 'standard hotel fare' was, in fact, serving two different kinds of sausage AND sauerkraut.  

I have to say, we always manage to enjoy ourselves every year, but there is DEFINITELY room for improvement, specifically:

-This should be self-explanatory:  Where in the EFF is all of the German food?  Seriously?  We were waiting in line for ASIAN POTSTICKERS next to a stand selling gyros and kabobs.  The selection is POOR.  At least last year, they were serving spaetzle in the Frost halle.  Why is the only option for mushroom strudel a $45/per person plate dinner?  I want German food at a German festival, for crying out loud!!!  If I wanted funnel cake and fried beer, I'd go to the State Fair.  

-People, prepare for crowds.  You run restaurants.  Do not run out of food.  It's only pork.  Should you run out, please be prepared to bring more.  

-They have a huge field of room, yet the dachshund races are limited to small runs of...what...ten feet?  Spread that sh*t out, y'all.  There are too many people cheering on those dogs, and none of them can see what the eff is happening.  

-I would like to second the complaint about no local breweries or wineries being represented.  

So much room for improvement.  Here's hoping.

Casey
Casey

We had a great time yesterday at Addison Oktoberfest, but I'll agree about the beer selection. We actually followed it up with a trip to Central Market to check out this month's Brewtopia. We had a great conversation with the beer & wine manager and he suggested some new beers for us to try. We also did some tastings and spoke with several brewers that were there representing their brands. If you spend over $20 on beer, you get a 25% discount. Pretty sweet deal. They'll be there all month doing tastings and cooking demonstrations (using beer of course).

Lake Highlands is also having an Oktoberfest celebration on October 1st. Samuel Adams and Krombacher will be there along with some other brews. Looks like some great food too. It's the first year of the event so who knows what to expect, but probably worth checking out.

Jon
Jon

The beer sponsors must have an exclusive - they have never offered alternatives. Pity.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I always found Addisons Oktoberfest to be a bit tame for my taste, too suburban and not enough hot german girls in busty tops ;). The food is decent, but I agree the beer is a bit lame. Here's hoping Dallas gets an true Oktoberfest event for the new downtown park when it opens.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

Ugh.  I hate hearing about the ones I missed. Any others that I don't have to wait a year for?

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

It does. Martingermany explained it above. Germans have mad Turks, hence Kebap. And if you think that's weird, google Currywurst

EastDallas4Life
EastDallas4Life

Seriously, why can't we just pay cash and avoid an extra unnecessary line?

cp
cp

Can't take your post seriously and quit reading after "corn dog".

Martingermany
Martingermany

I agree there should be more German food. The selection is not great and the idea to make a $45 menu like a restaurant is very weird for a festival like this.The Gyros though almost counts as German food. It's very big in Germany due to the Greek and Turkish immigrants, who brought it there. And, Selim (the guy who owns the Gyro business) is actually from Germany. He used to have a place in Addison, but went into distribution. He told me on Friday at the Oktoberfest though that they are looking for a new, smaller location. Good news for us Germans, who miss a good Gyros. :-)

As an aside, as someone from Germany I always wondered, what's the deal with everyone charging to get INTO festivals (Oktoberfest, State Fair, etc.)??? Why do you have to pay to get into a place where you then have to pay for everything??? European festivals are free unless you actually buy food/drinks or ride rides.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I find it ironic that at Grapefest across town, they never have these issues, even when most of their vendors are smaller mom & pops/community organizations. It's why i've always found that Oktoberfest is greatly disorganized. It's why Dallas proper needs to launch a true oktoberfest celebration once the new deck park goes live...

Martingermany
Martingermany

Yes, and they have a GREAT selection right now. Some very god German beers, including some mini kegs (Moenchshofer Schwarzbier from Kulbach - that's the stuff!).

Lee
Lee

They do! But alas, there was no local brew tent.

CherryBitch
CherryBitch

Went to an Oktoberfest yesterday. By the insane numbers of kids and strollers (of every kind, even the obnoxious jogging ones), you'd think it was held inside a Chuck E. Cheese and not downtown McKinney. Effing annoying.

Martingermany
Martingermany

What's wrong with Currywurst?Try a hot dog with some ketchup that has curry powder mixed in. It's tasty. Certainly better than eating it with just plain ketchup.

brian
brian

currywurst was a painful lesson

EastDallas4Life
EastDallas4Life

Yep, because "troublemakers" cant spend 10 bucks for admission and just bring in a flask... Get a life.

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