I’ve been threatening to write about the Hof Brau for months now, ever since the Mrs. and I moved into the DPM (Del Paso Manor) in fact.Â So let’s just get this out in the open to start the conversation:Â I love the Hof Brau, totally, completely, unconditionally.Â There is not one thing I would change about the culinary and cultural timewarp that is Plaza Hof Brau.Â Sure, it’s not a place you go on a first date or a place youÂ take clients to when you’re trying to show them the town, but whenÂ you’re in the mood for a gut-filling meal with a side of pickles, you can’t ask for a better place. Being a child whose parents and grandparents frequented the ‘Brau, I am often amazed when I talk to Sacramento natives who have never been.Â To me, never having been to the Hof Brau is on par with never having been to the Zoo, or the Nut Tree, or Funderland, or school.Â It’s just part of the landscape, the intricately woven tapestry that is life in Sacramento (the only difference is that this part of the tapestry is covered in gravy).Â
So, you’ve never been to the Hof Brau?Â Fine.Â Let’s start out by checking you for telltale signs of coming from another planet.Â Ok, once the Area 51 exam is over I’ll tell you what you need to know.
The words Hof Brau come to us from the German, Ã¢â‚¬Å“hofÃ¢â‚¬Â meaning meat, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“brauÃ¢â‚¬Â meaning appealing to steel workers of the Great Lakes region.Â Our local Hof Brau is very similar to the original prototypes of the teens and twenties, velvet wall-paper, brass railings and Midwestern beers on tap.Â Most people I know younger than 70 shy away from the place and actually are a little frightened by the meat in the window.
Yet, there’s a little bit of Scranton, of Chicago, of Milwaukee in all of us. A touch of Polish iron worker, Irish meat packer, and Finnish cooper hides behind our elegantly structured veneers of Kenneth Cole shoes, Kate Spade purses and animal print cell phones.Â We get hungry for the salt of the earth, thirsty for Pabst Blue Ribbon.Â We crave rare meat, we lust after 1971 Chevy Novas, we ache to wear coveralls.Â It’s ok, it really is.Â You can come out of the societal closet. Â We’re Americans and we know who our forefathers were.Â That being said, let’s talk about serious eating.
All meals at the ‘Brau are served cafeteria style.Â Your first choice when you walk in is what kind of meal you want.Â Specials range from Mac ‘n’ Cheese to Stroganoff to Bavarian Chicken toÂ Chicken a la King.Â Most people, however, go for a sandwich.Â First, select whichÂ meat you want, beef or turkey. Â I feel you can’t go wrong with the French dip, but if you’re morally opposed to beef, the turkey won’t be a disappointment.Â When ordering a sandwich, you will undoubtedly be asked the question, “Do you want that dipped?”Â No matter what you ordered or how you like it served, the answer to that question is always, “YES!”Â Having half of your sandwich soaked in au jus is too rare an experience to pass up.Â Â Your choice of sides includes mashed potatoes, or turkey dressing, or potato salad, or macaroni salad, or jello salad, or 40w Penzoil salad.Â Â Please note, all sides areÂ served appropriately with an ice cream scooper.Â I suggest the dressing, but the potatoes are pretty good as well.Â Behind the cafeteria counter are literally 50 people who will shuttle your food choices through for you.Â Make sure to tell them that you want the brown gravy or they will try to pawn that pale turkey gravy off on you. Â You can opt for a dessert at the register, berry pie, chocolate pie, lemon pie, banana cream pie, but the best is pumpkin pie.Â I don’t care if it’s the middle of summer and the sidewalks are melting, you’ll absolutely love the pumpkin pie.Â That’s it.Â You’re done.Â Pay at the register and enjoy your feast.
Oh wait, what am I saying, you haven’t hit the bar yet.Â The bar at the Plaza Hof Brau is incredible, dirt cheap prices and friendly service, root beer on tap for the teetotallers and Lowenbrau on tap for those in the know.Â You’ll invariably wind up sitting next to a maintenance man from the bowling alley next door, and when asking him how things are going at the lanes, he’ll tell you about wax to grit ratios and slide shoe over under wood flexibility even though you were just asking how his day is.Â It’s absolutely delightful.
Keeping all this in mind, the Hof Brau may not be for everyone. Â If you have an irrational fear of hair nets or a violent allergy to lima bean casserole, you may want to hit the bowling alley while we eat. Â But eating is only half of the reason to go the Plaza Hof Brau.Â It’s a cultural experience.Â You have to go for the murals of Rubenesque ladies in petticoats riding ridiculously oversized turn-of-the-century bicycles.Â You have to go for the 100 year old photos of Sacramento streets decorating the walls.Â You have to go to listen to people discuss that day’s installment of the Rush Limbaugh program.Â Honestly, getting the chance to watch people digest macaroni and cheese casserole and ham hocks is like seeing Haley’s comet.Â You have to take advantage of that.
So, you convinced yet?Â You still don’t want to go?Â Fine, I’ve got this great place in Roswell that I can recommend, give me a call and I’ll give you directions.
Plaza Hof Brau- Corner of WattÂ & El Camino
Food***1/2 Atmosphere**** Service***