Calling all lederhosen lovers, stein swillers, felt cap flourishers, and cowbell crazies. It's Oktoberfest time again, you cuckoo clocks, and South Florida's German restaurants won't let you forget it.
Actually, some of these eateries start early -- like in mid-September. At Old Heidelberg Restaurant & Deli (900 State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale, 954-463-6747), the party is already in full swing. The place has been busy hosting Ukrainian dancers (September 24), and in the upcoming weekends, they'll have a full plate of nonstop celebration, including accordionist Ingo and his wife, Anne, revving up the large party room with polkas (October 1), the Edelweiss Dancers (October 8), and the Halley Sisters from Germany with their musical comedy show (October 15 and 16 and 22 and 23).
At Bavarian Village (1401 N. Federal Hwy., Hollywood, 954-922-7321), things heat up as singer Thomas Artzberger works the crowd with accordionist Uwe Zehme and His Band (October 1). At two shows, 6 and 8:30 p.m., the dancing Auerhahn Schuplatters also kick up a storm.
In a kind of swan song for the holiday, Edith Prock, the world's "ambassador of Bavarian Music," will appear with Carolyn and Ingo (October 29), followed by yet another wild weekend with the Halley Sisters (October 30 and 31).
Want to forego the singing and dancing and concentrate on the food? The Ambry (3016 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-771-7342) specializes in German food but is also known for its steaks. Try the Bavarian platter for full exposure to all tastes Teutonic.
Checkers Old München (2209 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach, 954-785-7565) offers a homey, Munich-style setting with a small bill of fare, but its special Oktoberfest dinner ($13.95) will put you in the mood for an Erdinger or two.
Up in Greenacres, there's the Bohemian Garden Restaurant & Lounge (5450 Lake Worth Rd., Greenacres, 561-968-4111). Here, it's dinner only, served from 4:30 to 9 p.m. The menu is not limited to German fare, so if you're tired of spaetzle, go for some Bohemian goulash. Word of mouth has always been good for this dish -- and you're at least in the culinary neighborhood of Oktoberfest.
Viel vergnuegen, everyone! October Pours In