So like most things in life, when you make a decision you have to begin where you are. So right now I am in Columbus, so my food travel challenge begins here with Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Opened in 1888 as a meat packing house, it ventured into the restaurant business via a food stand opened in 1914 (it was a food truck before they were cool!), and became a full fledged restaurant in 1967. It has a very old fashion feel and you definitely get the feeling that the menu hasn’t changed since 1967, but that’s okay, they know what they do well and stick to it.
Schmidt’s was featured on the Travel Channel show Man v. Food, which I thought was a fitting beginning to my Food Challenge since Man v. Food is typically a show featuring Adam Rickman trying to tackle a restaurants most outrageous food offering. Schmidt’s doesn’t have a food challenge, but made the cut as being a place where an interesting experience could be had. I was intrigued.
So I went to Schmidt’s during Oktoberfest, which wasn’t my intention, but seeing as I am not a beer drinker I don’t tend to keep up with beer focused events. As a German themed restaurant, the crowd in that place was ridiculous. It was also the weekend of a Buckeyes game, which if you are familiar at all with Ohio you already know that means that the crowds at any place with a bar and TV are sick. You would think that every game was homecoming or something. So I find myself standing in the crush of people wondering if this is going to be worth the wait. I sneak around the host podium to snap a few pictures, and wander over to the buffet. The smell alone let’s me know that I am more than willing to wait for the experience. I should preface and say that I love breakfast meat (really meat in general). Bacon is at the pinnacle of that love, but sausage is a very close runner up. So I stood looking at the buffet contemplating if it would be wrong of me to just get a plate of sausage. I can’t even tell you what the sides were, they really didn’t matter because I was there for sausage. I was also there alone that day so who would know if I just ate a plate full and left the carbs to the other guest? Ok, you would know…
But I was saved from gluttony by impatience (who says that it has no virtue). After waiting about 45 minutes for a table I decided to get take out. I ordered the Old World Sausage Platter, which was a sample of the 4 best sausage varieties offered at Schmidt’s. I was expecting to like the sausage and it didn’t disappoint, but far more interesting to me was that I liked the sauerkraut! I had never had sauerkraut before. It doesn’t look like it would taste like much, the smell is pungent so you know you are in for some strong flavors, but is that a good thing? My first bite of it was with the Bahama Mama sausage (their most ordered variety) and it enhanced the flavor of the sausage in a surprising way. The pungence of the vinegary taste, complimented the savory spices in the sausage beautifully. I was impressed.
It was a lot of food, so to feel a little bit better about myself I didn’t eat the bun, only had a few bites of potato salad (a little underwhelming), and saved the potato pancakes for another meal. Yep, I just ate sausage and sauerkraut. I knew I wasn’t going to be saving room for dessert, but I did take a picture of it. Another thing that Schmidt’s is famous for is their 1lb cream puffs, meant to be shared, but keep it real, I saw a lot of people with that baby sitting in front of them with just 1 fork.
So if you are in the C’bus area, it is worth a trip, just make sure it isn’t Oktoberfest and the Buckeyes aren’t playing, because even on a normal day it can still have a bit of a crowd.