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Student Prince, Springfield MA, One of 'Gourmet's' Best

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Peter B Wolf Sep 30, 2008 04:36 AM

This month Gourmet Mag proclaims the Student Prince and Fort Restaurant in Springfield's MA downtown "one of the 21 best classic restaurants in America"

These accolates are the newest in a long line of Awards and Recommendations given to the Restaurant. The Student Prince is an "Institution" in this City since 1929 and has provided extremely wonderful Food and warm Old Country Atmosphere to it's patrons. It has been and will continue to be known by many locals and others from near and far away.

A one Million Dollar (or two) antique Beer Stein Collection, a twenty food solid wood Mahagony Bar and commisioned Stained Glass Windows are indicative to the Restaurant's heritage and business success of nearly 70 Years.

Imported Beers have been one of the main draws of this Establishment. But the menu, in it's length and variety of typical German and American Fare, with 'Specialties' (more so then 'Specials') has given it's patrons constant enlightenment in the form of foods served by friendly and experienced personell. All Chefs, Cooks and Food Service workers adhere to strict ascribed recipe preparations, which have been in use for many years by the Owners, the Scherff family.

Special Occasions are celebrated throughout the year, such as Game Fest, Maywine Fest, Bockbeer Fest, October Fest and not to forget the Christmastree Lighting ceremony with life Carolers.

By choosing the Student Prince as one of 21 estabilshments as a "Classic" Restaurant in America is an honor well bestowed.

But, I could have already told them all these facts as of 1964, when I started working there as Chef.
So this write-up here may seem biased, and it is, but I do not currently benefit from doing so nor have I been in the employment of the Student Prince since 1980, when I left to take a position as instructor and consultant. I frequent the place often, with my last visit being this past June.

  1. t
    treb Sep 30, 2008 09:21 AM

    No, you sound very fair, IMO, it's probably the only solid comfort food rest. in Spfld.

    1. p
      Peter B Wolf Oct 1, 2008 03:27 AM

      And, as always, I stand to be corrected: " The Student Prince Cafe was opened September 24, 1935 by Paul Schoeder and Erna Sievers. It was named after Sigmund Romberg's lighthearted operetta of Heidelberg student life, The Student Prince. "
      The above is a direct quote from their web site: http://www.studentprince.com/
      and this too changes the total lifetime to 73 years and not as 'nearly 70.'
      I hope I will be forgiven. Age is creeping in (into my life)

      1. EastRocker Oct 1, 2008 08:20 AM

        I saw that article too. I have been craving German food lately. I was going to go to Old Heidelberg in Bethel, CT being in New Haven myself, but maybe I will make a day trip out of it and check out the Prince.

        1. h
          hollerhither Oct 1, 2008 09:48 AM

          Yep, heard about the write-up! It's our "go-to" spot for business lunches. "Classic," quirky, consistently good. Certainly special in its own right.

          1. b
            belcherveggie Oct 2, 2008 11:21 AM

            While certainly not a Vegetarian destination, Even 25 years ago (before it was common) The Student Prince always had a vegetarian option available (usually white asparagus, au grattan potatoes or potato pancakes and the day's vegetable. This was greatly appreceated as many meetings, lunches and dinners were held there. Always delicious and with great service,and always crowded. A testament to the success and popularity, do not expect tons of elbow room !! My fondest memory of one Christmas party many years ago, Rupprecht came out of the Kitchen, sauce pot in hand, making sure everyone had enough Au grattan potatoes! (Of Course I had more) I'm already looking forward to this holiday season.

            1 Reply
            1. re: belcherveggie
              h
              hollerhither Oct 2, 2008 02:09 PM

              I often get the vegetarian platter. Also the roquefort dressing is one-of-a-kind!

            2. b
              bakinggirl Oct 2, 2008 11:37 AM

              My husband and I visited the Student Prince for the first time last weekend. I must say we were a bit disappointed. It's always great to have Spaten on tap, esp. when Oktoberfest is in season, but the food garnered mixed reviews. The beef from my husband's sauerbraten was definitely old, and his potato dumpling was dry. My goulasch was good but not great (do German-Americans not use paprika in their Hungarian goulasch??). I was a bit disappointed by our bartender, who although being a younger guy like us was not very personable (we sat at the bar). Service was prompt and polite; all in all I'd probably give it another visit next time we're in the area (if only for the beer!).

              1. b
                bhbuckley Oct 2, 2008 06:48 PM

                The Student Prince (or as I call it, The Fort-which is the bar's name) is a place to visit, but it is not a foodie destination. I literally grew up in the place having been bron and raised in a nearby town, but it is not a spot I even think of for a decent meal. It is very unfortuantate, but IMO, undeniably true. I still go once or twice a year, but with sadness.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bhbuckley
                  h
                  hollerhither Oct 3, 2008 09:29 AM

                  Perhaps my definition of a "foodie destination" is more flexible than yours, but I would much rather eat there than any other restaurant in downtown Springfield proper -- the stuff at the Hall of Fame is medicore at best. I work with folks who have been going there for decades. True that there is not much to choose from around here, but The Fort -- we call it that too -- has earned its reputation as something special, and I would agree with Gourmet singling it out as "classic." You are not going to find haute cuisine there, but what is served, in its own context, is remarkably consistent and satisfying. I prefer it over Munich Haus in Chicopee.

                2. d
                  Doctor Paul Oct 2, 2008 08:28 PM

                  Peter Wolf knows his profession/business, and kindly introduced me to the Student Prince. The fare was fantastic, only to be superceded by Peter's (CEC) personal expertise and dishes. The man (Peter) has his own flair!

                  He served the Prince for years, and likely contributed to its greatness today.

                  If I resided in the Springfield area, this writer would frequent that restaurant weekly!

                  The menu is prolific and diverse.

                  1. j
                    jakeyd Oct 3, 2008 09:48 AM

                    Had dinner there last Sunday with wife & son on our way back to Brooklyn from VT. We all enjoyed it as the very good comfort food that it is and the roquefort dressing is off the hook!

                    1. m
                      MUGger Oct 10, 2008 09:50 AM

                      I'm a big fan of the Student Prince, and try to stop in for some Spaten and homemade wurst when I visit Springfield. I was introduced to the place when my best friend had his 16th birthday party in the upper room (in the late 70s), with a menu that included fried camembert cheese, lobsters, steak, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and baked alaska. Not the best meal of my life, but one of my first great eating experiences. Congrats on the honor from Gourmet Magazine!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MUGger
                        t
                        Teraesa22 Oct 18, 2008 07:01 AM

                        The fried camembert appi is the best there... Love it

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