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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.