As you make your way down the quiet and quaint main street of Sanford, Fla., you’ll see many restaurants and little shops. However, listen closely and you’ll also notice a restaurant playing music and people dancing with beer mugs in hand.
Take a few steps closer and you’ll realize that the music is sung in German. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café is an authentic German restaurant with plenty of hearty German cuisine, a plethora of German beer and live entertainment. The restaurant has both a lunch and dinner menu. When I visited, I was there for dinner.
I was personally drawn to this establishment because I am a meat lover. As I’ve mentioned before, my dad is a hunter and my family always had, and still has, fresh meat on the table. Hollerbach’s menu did not disappoint. There are plenty of dishes to choose from and various meat selections.
When the server came to my table she asked for our drink orders. The German woman was very sweet. When she returned with our drinks, she told us about the vorspeise (appetizers) we should try. As I was listening to her, I got really excited when two German men walked out, both wearing traditional lederhosen and one carrying an accordion. As they stepped up on the stage in front of everyone, they started playing Sound of Music’s Edelweiss – one of my favorite songs.
As I listened to the men playing music, our server suggested both the Riesen Brezen – a 10-ounce gigantic pretzel served with Sweet Bavarian Mustard and Obatzer Kase (savory cheese spread made with cream cheese, sour cream, diced onions, salt, pepper and sweet paprika), and the potato pancakes served with applesauce and sour cream, as appetizers.
I chose the potato pancakes and they were so good! The outsides were golden brown and crisp. The insides were soft and had a great texture. The applesauce and sour cream blended well together and gave the pancakes a sweet and salty taste.
For the main course I chose the Schlachthaus Platte Fur Zwei (Butcher Shop Platter for Two), which included a little bit of everything from their menu – bratwurst, weisswurst, knockwurst, LeberKase (baked pork loaf) and kassler (boneless smoked pork tenderloin). Sides included – Heaven and Earth potatoes, sauerkraut, sweet red cabbage and German bread. Of course, I did not eat this alone and had a friend who helped me devour this meal.
The bratwurst was nice and tender and had a smoky flavor. Weisswurst is white sausage. I don’t believe Hollerbach’s weisswurst was on the menu that night and were given two bratwursts. Traditional weisswurst usually contains finely minced veal and fresh pork back bacon. I would have liked to try this. The knockwurst was delicious. The meat was very soft in the middle and also had a smoky flavor. The LeberKase was a little tough and reminded me of fried bologna. It was actually very good. Lastly, the kassler was very good. It really did have a smoky flavor and you could definitely taste the flavor of the tenderloin.
The sides were just as delicious. The Heaven and Earth potatoes had a smooth and soft texture. They really were like a piece of Heaven on Earth. The sauerkraut (sour cabbage) and sweet cabbage both lived up to their names. They were sour and sweet, and very good. The German bread I felt was good, but was overshadowed by all of the other delectable food on my plate.
As you can see, I have nothing but praise for this restaurant. Hands down, it’s probably one of the best restaurants I’ve tried since I’ve made my move to Florida. I truly recommend Hollerbach’s to anyone visiting the area.
205 E. 1st Street
Sanford, FL 32771