It may seem strange to describe a business that has been around since 1879 as a hidden gem, but that’s what Hildebrandt’s is. Opening it first as a grocery store, the family eventually added a kitchen and seating in the rear. There are still a few produce bins here and there as well as a minimal supply of paper goods and sundries, and a lot of shelf space is devoted to interesting candies, soda pop, and potato chips. Plus, there are antiques and collectibles everywhere. Louanne Hildebrandt, whose family started the business, grew up here and still runs the place today. The kitchen makes excellent sandwiches and sides and is open only for lunch 11am-4pm, Monday-Saturday.
It’s hard to decide what to order, as everything sounds so good, but the wife and I narrowed it down to three items we planned to split. The Louis, which is named after Louanne’s father, starts with selecting a type of bread, four meats of your choice and then you get to choose your cheese. Every step of the ordering process is handled slowly and they love offering suggestions on making it special for you. You can also have Louanne make it “her way.” She chooses; and that always works for me.
The grilled pork chop sandwich is unusual in this area and is a top seller. It features two portions of boneless pork loin grilled to perfection. Again: your choice of breads, dressings and toppings. It can also be spiced up while grilling with an excellent spice rub or cooked mild. Sourdough, cheddar, mayo, lettuce and tomato were my choices. It is a sandwich I would order again.
The star of the day was the Reuben. I tend to order Reubens before all other choices, and this time it really paid off. It is tender corned beef (pastrami is an option), just the right amount of kraut and cheese on soft rye. The side of German potato salad was also a hit. Louanne serves it warm and it contains a generous portion of real bacon bits. I believe I could have made a meal of just the potato salad.
Hildebrandt’s is well worth your time for a great lunch.