Been very much enjoying this topic and having fun guessing where the posters are from based on their menu items.
But, at the risk of--hey, for the fun of--creating some controversy, here are two postings from the "Where have all the German restaurants gone" thread. The question is can you create a comfort food menu and restaurant environment that appeal to more modern tastes and health concerns? Or, even should you?
David NYC said, "Many people have given reasons why many German restaurants have closed. I'd like to add a few without repeating what other posters have written.
"In many ways, this topic is very similar to the death watch being held for the remaining Howard Johnson's restaurants. Time change. I have a Bavarian cousin who has been visiting me for 35 years now. We would often go to the NY area German restaurants mentioned earlier in this thread. His comment was that these restaurants were frozen in time. The dark decor and the heavy food were anachronistic. The fact that some of these restaurants were using those step-saver products from SYSCO, et. al. changed the character of the food.
"In my less frequent visits to Bavaria, I note that the majority of restaurants serve food that is much lighter fare than what was served in those closed restaurants listed here. In Bavaria, people eat a lot of Italian food and pizza. Plenty of McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King, and Taco Bell. The restaurants that locals (not tourists) go to don't play that music you hear of oom pah pah bands in old German restaurants. The radio stations targeted at a young audience play mostly English language songs. Go on the internet and find that the median age of the listeners to radio stations that play mostly German music is about 55 years old.
"As mentioned earlier, there are some new German restaurants opening in the US. A lot have names that do not denote they serve German food, having english names. The one I ate at, Hallo Berlin in Manhattan, seemed to serve modern German cuisine."
Here's my reply, "David NYC, your post is very insightful. The Suppenkuche I mentioned above has carved out a niche by having a nice selection for the Bay Area's vegetarian diners, along with more traditional fare. My server mentioned that there’s huge demand for veggie items in their restaurant, and that Germany itself now has some 6 million vegetarians due in part to the European concern with Mad Cow disease.
"You'd think the small Roadfood-type restaurants in this country would have a giant advantage in responding to changes in customer tastes, be they the trend for more spicy foods, lighter food, or whatever, but so very many are set in their ways. Being set in your ways can be a very, very good thing when it comes to serving quality food, but not in the case of a place like the Bakers Cafeteria in Des Moines, where the average age of the diners in its gloomy dining room during my last visit a year or so ago was nearing 70 years, with not a family in sight.
"Along this line, it's interesting to glance at the comfort food suggestions in the following link. Which chefs are going to draw the family whose members have different tastes? Where one person is concerned about fat in their diet? Or, carbs? Where someone doesn't eat red meat? Where someone is on a training diet? I know the chefs aren't listing their entire menus, but are some concerned at all about such issues? And, if they say they can't do this for various reasons, are they being very creative in creating specialty dishes that appeal to all? [Link to this comfort food topic.]
"Here's one of their competitors that is concerned. Check out its various menus.