Schmankerl Stube vs. the Bavarian Inn
I'm going to be in Harpers Ferry and western MD soon. I was thinking about going to either the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown or Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown. Does anyone have any opinions one way or the other? I haven't been to either place, but Shepherdstown will be closer than Hagerstown for me.
I find the food at Schmankerl Stube to be more authentic and the food at Bavarian Inn a little more Americanized (including the American menu). The setting at Bavarian Inn is more formal and quite well done if this is what you are looking for. The wine list is far better at Bavarian Inn, but surprisingly limited German wines. The beer is slightly better at Schmankerl Stube. The names say it all if you want an authentic meal with good beer in a less formal atmosphere go to the Stube. If you want a more formal country house meal in a pretty setting visit the Inn.
Having dined at both (the BI as recently as three weeks ago), I agree for the most part with Trip Klaus's assessment. I didn't notice much difference in the beer. The cooking at the BI is more refined, more elegant. Hard for me to say if it is echt German as my last visit there was 20 years ago. But it is certainly true that the SS will serve an enormous pork shank to you that will not be on offer at the BI.
The wine list at the BI, however, is really quite good. It's on their web site if you want to take a look ( http://www.bavarianinnwv.com/winelist...) and although it is not extremely deep in German wines, it is deep in a lot of things with very reasonable prices for great wines from all over the world.
Just had dinner at Schmankerl Stube two weeks ago and overall had a fine experience. After camping in the rain all day, we were wet, cold and hungry. Although the host turned away the 4-some ahead of us because the restaurant was booked, he quickly got us a table in the bar (only two of us).We were definitely casual -- hiking boots, pants soaked halfway to the knees, and damp under our jackets, but at least in proper clothes. I like to think the host took pity on our slightly sorry state.
The food compared very favorably to the top German restaurants I used to go to in the Milwaukee area and seemed authentic enough for me. The smoked pork chop was appropriately smokey but not dry. My sauerbraten was a little on the sweet side, but falling apart tender. My wife thought there cream chicken soup was wonderful and probably could have eaten that all night. Plus, like a proper German place it had giant beers. Service was attentive and friendly. Our waitress even told us they had a 1 pork shank available even though the menu requires 24 hour notice. After seeing it go by later, I'll have to come back some time when I'm absolutely starving because it was huge.
It was pricey but given the weather we were happy for the comfort food.