Valentines delight

Cherubs, roses, accordion serenade: romance awaits at Restaurant Linderhof

Two golden cherubs sit in a pouf of pink ribbon on the mantel of Restaurant Linderhof. They watch over the dining room, waiting for the next couple to shoot with their magic arrows.

“Linderhof has always been intended to be a restaurant of friends and lovers, small groups and couples, so Valentine’s Day naturally fits us,” said owner Aaron Schmissrauter last week.

Linderhof, named for one of King Ludwig’s castles, is ready for the most romantic evening of the year: decorations are up, tablecloths and bunches of fresh roses are waiting and an accordion player stands by.

The standard menu will be available that evening, so regular customers won’t be disappointed, says general manager, Kris Johnson. But some surprises are up his sleeve too, including a special meal for two with a champagne pairing, a surf and turf feature, and a pre-fixed, five-course meal that includes an horderve, soup, salad, a main dish and dessert.

From board-and-batten walls in the bar area to the dining room where a painting of King Ludwig hangs, the Bavarian theme will delight first-time visitors, as well as those who have eaten in the best restaurants of Germany, says Schmissrauter. Colorful street scenes of Rothenburg hang in the bar and a large elegant painting of Neuschwanstein Castle adorns the dining room — all painted by Reagan Schmissrauter, the owner’s brother and maître d’. The dining hall is designed to make visitors feel they are in one of King Ludwig’s palace rooms, the owner says, an idea he carried over from the original restaurant established by Gunther and Anita Laus. At the new location, Schmissrauter added a bar area to give customers the option of eating in a stereotypical German beer hall.

“We have a large bedroom community who have been stationed in Germany from the 50s to currently,” he says. “With our restaurant and Oktoberfest held here at Renaissance Farragut, we’ve been able to expose people to a little German culture and heritage. During Oktober-fest we have polka bands in from all over the country and we have special food.”

Restaurant Linderhof always offers German staples such as potato dumplings, schnitzel (cutlets of meat, pounded and breaded), wurst (sausages) and various sauces. From time to time, specials such as sauerbraten (meat marinated for over a week) and hasenpfeffer (rabbit), are available, and on the weekends the chef gets creative and throws in some modern dishes with a German twist.

“We’ve been here for almost 20 years,” Schmissrauter said. “We started out as a small mom-and-pop restaurant under Gunter and Anita. I happened to be in college and started working for them. He got sick and I just felt called to help the restaurant carry on. With the help of the Myers Brothers, we were able

to make a transition to the Renaissance Center.

“I didn’t buy the restaurant —it bought me,” he laughs.

“We’re very proud to be here and proud to be a German restaurant that’s very respected by people who come here from all over the world. We don’t take shortcuts here. We do everything the long way. We cook with love.”