The Crawl: The true (?) meaning of Oktoberfest

Star Tribune staff | Updated 8/17/2012

News and notes from the scene.

Gasthof owner Mario Pierzchalski with Oktoberfest celebrants

The true (?) meaning of Oktoberfest

In the Twin Cities, Oktoberfest is starting to feel like a German version of St. Patrick's Day. So we went to three of the metro area's most well-known German restaurants and asked their owners what Oktoberfest means to them.

GASTHOF ZUR GEMUTLICHKEIT

  • Where: 2300 University Av. NE., Mpls.
  • Oktoberfest: Fri.-Sat. through Oct. 9.
  • Owner: Mario Pierzchalski.

Q: Why drink beer out of a glass boot?

Pierzchalski: Because it's something special. It's a game. We have people who are 90 years old who drink the boot.

Q: What does Oktoberfest mean to you?

Pierzchalski: It's a festival for everyone. I like seeing people happy. And I like polka. People used to think that polka wasn't fun. They would say, "Mario, you're crazy." [Now], they say, "Mario, thank you."

Q: Do you drink out of the boot?

Pierzchalski: Yes, but not all of the time. I have to run the business.

BLACK FOREST INN

  • Where: 1 E. 26th St., Mpls.
  • Oktoberfest: Fri.-Oct. 3. The restaurant offers 10 themed nights, including one dedicated to David Hasselhoff (Oct. 1).
  • Owners: Sisters Erica and Gina, and their parents Joanne and Erich Christ.

Q: Why is the Hoff so revered in Germany?

Erica: Well, they love "Baywatch."

Gina: It's very tricky. We don't want to say terrible things about our [countrymen], and yet it certainly speaks of bad taste. Normally [Germans] are a very sensible people.

Q: What happens on Hasselhoff night?

Erica: We give away all these [David Hasselhoff] prizes. We have a "Knight Rider" lunchbox and thermos. There's a clock of David Hasselhoff holding puppies.

Q: How is your Oktoberfest different?

Erica: It's 10 events in 10 days. You can come, order a plate of bratwurst, listen to some accordion music. And you can jump up and down and scream when your number is called and you won the "Knight Rider" board game.

GASTHAUS BAVARIAN HUNTER

  • Where: 8390 Lofton Av., Stillwater.
  • Oktoberfest: Fri.-Sun.
  • Owner: Kim Quade.

Q: What do you remember about your first Oktoberfest tent parties?

Quade: I remember just being excited by 200 people showing up. Typically, on a weekend now, we do 4,500. We have a very unique venue being that we're in the forest.

Q: Why is Oktoberfest in September?

Quade: People will call me in October and say, "When's your Oktoberfest." When I tell them it was in September, they say "Well, that's stupid! Why is it called Oktoberfest if it's in September?" I don't make the rules. Call Germany.

Q: What's up with Hammerschlagen -- is it really a good test of strength?

Quade: It's a game we originated here 20 years ago. It's not necessarily about strength, it's more eye-hand coordination, which is pretty limited after a person has had a couple German beers. You don't have to be a big strong manly man to do it. But it's funny to watch a big strong manly man get his butt whooped.

  • Tom Horgen

Lookbook closes the book

As break-ups go, Lookbook stayed pretty classy. Both members of the synth-pop duo cited unspoken personal differences as their demise came to light late last week -- and then they really didn't speak of them. Said singer Maggie Morrison, "With it only being the two of us, there needs to be an extremely strong relationship -- and we didn't have that."

Grant Cutler downplayed the split as no "big, dramatic thing," and stressed the positive: "I'm proud of all the music we've been making," he said, suggesting recent recordings could still surface. First, though, his debut EP as Grant Cutler & the Gorgeous Lords will arrive with a party Oct. 20 at the Turf Club. Morrison is also writing solo material and performing every Wednesday at Nick & Eddie with the electronic improv act H.U.N.X.