Hallo, America! Herman the German here, back from the other side of the Atlantic just in time to start spreading the good news about The Berghoff’s upcoming Oktoberfest! Now that Munich’s first Oktoberfest tents have been drawn for the September event, I figured it was time to give Chicago a little taste of this bratwurst. The Berghoff, my home away from home, has welcomed me back with open arms as I return from the far reaches of Fantasy Costume Cleaners in Portage Park Bavaria! It was difficult to say goodbye to a year jam-packed with my favorite things: brats, dirndls, lederhosen, and schnitzels, but the departure became completely bearable when I realized my Oktoberfest celebration in Chicago would greet me with all these things and more! Coming up this September, from the 10th through the 12th, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group is hosting Chicago’s largest and longest-running Oktoberfest celebration. The event, which is approaching its 29th year, will be taking place in the John C. Kluczynski Federal Plaza located on the corners of Adams and Dearborn Streets. The Berghoff restaurant, located just east of the plaza at 17 W. Adams, is also featuring an Oktoberfest special menu from which guests can choose delicious dishes hand-picked to represent the celebration’s roots in Munich!

I am especially ecstatic for this year’s Oktoberfest to integrate a couple new options onto the menu. German food is not exactly notorious for being light on meat and animal products (I would know…if I weren’t made out of polyester I’m sure I would have been eaten by now), so when I learned that The Berghoff was featuring a vegan option I was pleasantly surprised! The Oktoberfest menu will now host a Quinoa & Grilled Vegetable Salad. Another exciting new endeavor is this year’s Deutsch Schweine Gulasch! For the majority of you who are probably unfamiliar with any of those words, the dish is a delicious German pork stew. Both the gulasch and the quinoa dishes are also made gluten-free, keeping with The Berghoff’s gluten-free friendly policy and catering to diners with gluten sensitivity!

These recent additions are examples of bigger updates The Berghoff has made in recent years to infuse the menu with more contemporary options. Not only do they successfully create countless traditional German favorites, but many more modern, American dishes (which are often made vegetarian or gluten-free, or can be altered to accommodate such dietary preferences) have also entered the kitchen with great success. It is exciting that the Oktoberfest menu is reflecting that as well—a major goal of the celebration is to provide delicious foods to people of all dietary needs!

These changes aside, Oktoberfest promises the same fun it has always brought. The Johnny Wagner Band will be back to bring German music to our ears, and our animated emcee from Milwaukee, Sandy Maxx, will be hosting on stage! Get pumped for this event, Chicagoans! Just when you think summer is drawing to a close, the best event of the year sneaks up on you, so be sure not to miss out on beer, brats, and music galore. Added bonus is my three-day stint at the fest…pictures, please!