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The Rathskeller

401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN - (317) 636-0396
Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on 1/24/2010 1:28:00 PM
Visit just about any Midwestern city and you'll find at least one 19th-century German restaurant still operating and thriving. German cuisine may currently be the most out-of-fashion food in the country, but we find it hard to resist a visit to these great old dining halls. The Rathskeller is Indy's oldest restaurant (open since 1894), and can be found in a building originally known as Das Deutsche Haus, a German social club.

The place is chock full of German-style bric-a-brac, and there's an outdoor beer garden that looks like an ideal place to hoist a stein of German beer on a warm day. Our experience with the food was mixed. The wurst assortment was drab, the different sausages tasting much the same. The vegetable of the day, Brussels sprouts, were soft as warm butter. Nobody, however, is dining here for Brussels sprouts. The schnitzel is a wide, thick cutlet of breaded pork. This is the Midwest, and so it was well-prepared, schnitzel being the grandfather of the tenderloin sandwich. We also enjoyed the good red cabbage and sauerkraut. And, of course, there is a wonderful selection of German brews to choose from, many of them on tap.

We're not prepared to make a judgment on the food from this one meal. It was good enough for another visit and, at the very least, it would be worth stopping by just to quaff the great German beers and take in some German-Midwestern history.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
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The sauerbraten comes in a sweet gravy with a definite ginger flavor, with sauerkraut and German potato salad on the side.
"The sauerbraten comes in a sweet gravy with a definite ginger flavor, with sauerkraut and German potato salad on the side."
Cliff Strutz





Every table was brought a complimentary warm pretzel to start their meal.
"Every table was brought a complimentary warm pretzel to start their meal."
Cliff Strutz


The Brat 'N Kraut balls come with three dipping sauces, including Thousand Island, a spicy brown mustard, and a beer cream sauce.
"The Brat 'N Kraut balls come with three dipping sauces, including Thousand Island, a spicy brown mustard, and a beer cream sauce."
Cliff Strutz


This schnitzel, made from pork, isn't really all that much different from the classic Midwest tenderloin.
"This schnitzel, made from pork, isn't really all that much different from the classic Midwest tenderloin."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Next time we eat here, we want to dine in the attractive bar area known as the Frenzel Kellerbar.
"Next time we eat here, we want to dine in the attractive bar area known as the Frenzel Kellerbar."
Cliff Strutz


The oldest restaurant in Indianapolis, The Rathskeller is located in the historic Athenaeum Building.
"The oldest restaurant in Indianapolis, The Rathskeller is located in the historic Athenaeum Building."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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