After Hours: Bremerhof in Kaiserslautern, Germany
At the end of a winding, tree-lined road on the southern edge of Kaiserslautern is Bremerhof, a restaurant and hotel neatly tucked into a clearing near the edge of the Palatinate Forest, one of the largest forests in Germany.
With autumn approaching, Bremerhof is an ideal place to kick back, take in the colors and enjoy a bite and a beverage, particularly on the expansive terrace. The deck, which includes a small stage at one end, can accommodate about 800 people, according to owner Alf Schulz.
Just off the porch, in the direction of a grassy meadow and the forest beyond it, are three points of interest: a pit to play boules, or bocce ball, as they say in Italy; a large playground; and a field occupied by goats, cows and horses.
Naturally, kids are drawn to the latter two. On this day, patrons are petting a white horse. Then it gallops off, only to be succeeded by a long-haired goat. Meanwhile, several children can be heard giggling as they dodge around some swings and slides.
“The playground is so big, and it’s enclosed,” said Megan Unger, wife of Army Sgt. Owen Unger.
Adjacent to the playground is a soft court where men are enjoying a low-key game of boules. Most of them grip drinks and joke as they take turns flicking silver balls toward the target, or a competitor’s ball they wish to dislodge from its resting place.
Across the way is the main building, the oldest portion, known as the farmers room, which dates to 1760. That initial structure was expanded in 1807, and again in 1894, Schulz said. The main building can seat about 160 people and there are rooms set aside for private parties or gatherings.
Behind the main building is the second restaurant, Waldhaus, which offers a slightly more upscale atmosphere. Like the primary restaurant, the Waldhaus has a terrace, though not nearly as big as the Bremerhof’s beer garden. Both possess a charmingly simple atmosphere and friendly, efficient service.
“My favorite thing is the location,” said Army Sgt. Jay Welborn, who, along with wife Laura, was dining with the Ungers. “That and the view.”
The location is advantageous because it is close to downtown Kaiserslautern yet in the woods near such attractions as the professional soccer stadium and the Humberg Tower, or Humbergturm.
A moment later, Jay Welborn wants to inject something into the conversation.
“The food is good, too,” he says.
He’s right. Though the cuisine is not stellar, it’s sound and quite basic, reflecting a regional taste influenced by the woods, Germany and France.
Bremerhof also offers seasonal specials, such as goose in the winter.
Schulz, who has owned the business for about 20 years, said USO orientation groups visit his two restaurants about twice a week.
“We have a lot of Americans who come here,” he said.
BREMERHOFLocation: Bremerhof’s two restaurants and hotel are on the southern edge of Kaiserslautern. Address: Bremerhof 1, Kaiserslautern, Germany, 67663.
Hours: Closed only one day of the year: Christmas Eve. Kitchen opens at 11 a.m. and remains open well into the evening, depending on business.
Food: Main courses change with the season. Many of the dishes are common to the region. In the late summer and early fall, various wild mushrooms are featured. Additionally, there are several sandwiches and hamburgers to choose from.
Prices: Moderate, with most main courses in the 8- to 12-euro range. Rump steak is one of the most expensive offerings, costing about 20 euros.
Dress: Casual attire is fine, unless you choose the adjacent restaurant, Waldhaus, which is a bit less relaxed.
Phone: (+49) (0) 631-316-320.