If you're looking for a cozy German-style bar and restaurant, look no further than the Peoria Hofbrau, 2210 NE Jefferson Ave, Peoria. I should know, my family and I practically live there, and it's where StfRon and I met one fateful Thursday more than 5 1/2 years ago.
This is the kind of place where everybody knows your name after you spend a couple of evenings there. And they do a great lunch, too, although I rarely get out of work for lunch. For a German restaurant, it's funny how people rave about the chili dogs served at lunchtime. When I do go, I go for the braunschweiger sandwich.
The Hofbrau has a great selection of beer, and if you try 80 different beers and get your tour card stamped, you can immortalize yourself on the wall of fame, or shame, depending on how you look at it. Plus, when you're halfway done with your tour, you get a free dinner.
There are lots of great dinner choices here. If you happen to be in on a Friday or Saturday night, be sure to check out the specials. They're usually fabulous. I must say, though, I have never tried any of the rabbit specials, which I'm sure are great, but I just can't bring myself to eat a rabbit.
They serve up a unique plate of nachos here, tortilla chips covered with ground beef and shredded cheddar, toasted nicely in the oven and served with sides of sour cream, salsa and hot peppers. Not exactly German fare, but delish nonetheless.
The Hofbrau has some great wine choices, too, and some of the best group of workers you could hope to find.
We've met a lot of great people over the years at the Hofbrau. One of them has recently passed away, Randy Franks. Randy was the quintessential gentleman, unless he was telling one of his jokes. He waited tables and bartended at the Hofbrau a few years ago. He was always at the ready with a light for your cigarette, another drink as the last drops were hitting your tongue, a great suggestion for an after dinner cocktail, and a good laugh. And man, did that guy have ears! He could hear a comment from clear across the bar while he was carrying on a conversation with some other people, and next thing you know, after he finished talking with them he'd be down commenting about what you had said. He could hear an emptying glass from a room away.
We've missed him over the years. Prost, Randy.