Atlanta restaurant reviews, culinary news, and gluttonous gossip by admitted foodaholic Serina Patrick

Bratwurst For Bikers…Hogpen Gap Grill in Helen

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It’s that time of year again….Oktoberfest in Helen! Bratwurst, beer, bikers, and bad taste all coming together in one tiny faux Bavarian town in north Georgia. The restaurant most frequented by bikers (or perhaps I should say motorcycle enthusiasts) in Helen has a new owner and a long overdue new look. LC and I visited last weekend and gave it a try.

Formerly Hans House, Hogpen Gap Grill has retained its enormous patio, great for the gorgeous Fall weather. The revamped menu relies heavily on burgers, including Asian, Greek, and Tex Mex versions made with all natural beef, which makes the $9-$13 pricetag easier to digest compared to similarly priced burgers at nearby establishments that are likely full of hormones and fillers. A variety of salads, an extensive kid’s menu, and a few German specialties are offered as well.

There was a chill in the air so LC and I decided to sit inside where the decor was log cabin chic. I ordered a Spaten Oktoberfest and LC tried the Highland Oatmeal Porter that I enjoyed a couple of weeks ago at The Family Dog.

Despite numerous visits to Helen, I feel compelled to eat wurst and drink beer whenever I’m there. Like I have to eat tacos and drink margaritas in Mexico, I just have to, ya know? So I ordered their bratwurst, made locally especially for Hogpen. It was a long, skinny sausage, browned and finished with a drizzle of sweet mustard. Its texture wasn’t as dense as most brats, perhaps because there was less fat to hold it all together…a good thing. All three standard sides, sauerkraut, German potato salad, and candied red cabbage, were served with the bratwurst, complimenting its meaty flavor.

The cool weather made LC crave a bowl of hot soup. He wanted to order the potato soup but I thought it would be cream-based and fatty so I steered him towards the goulash, traditionally made with beef and vegetables in a tomato-based broth. Both of us wanted to try the corn souffle’ as a side.

Unfortunately, the goulash didn’t contain much beef so LC wasn’t thrilled with it. The corn souffle’, however, was fluffy and delicious, but the portion was disappointingly small. We ordered two more beers, bargain priced by Helen standards at $4 each.

After our lunch we took a short walk to the Festhalle where umpah bands play silly German polka music and college students get shitfaced on German beer served in tall plastic boots. We didn’t stay long.

This weekend, October 27th and 28th, is the last of Oktoberfest 2012, so pull on your lederhosen, get on your Ducati, and head to Helen for some beer, bratwurst, and maybe a little corn souffle’.

8735 Main Street, Helen 706-878-1822

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