Café Old Vienna is your passport to German-Austrian cuisine
Since 1997, Café Old Vienna Restaurant, Bar & Beer Garden has been transporting diners to Germany and Austria from its Myrtle Beach headquarters. Over the decades, the café moved locations to its current spot on Kings Highway, but their award-winning authentic German cuisine did not change.
It’s hard to believe, after all these years that Café Old Vienna has been around, I’ve never been to the Myrtle Beach mainstay until just recently for a late lunch on a Saturday.
Step inside, and be whisked away into an Old World German chalet, with vaulted ceilings, woodwork and beams, and traditional ring chandeliers. Oktoberfest had just kicked off, so swags of festival flags were strung throughout the dining room lined with wooden tables, booths, a long bar, and a stage, where they host live music some weekends. A covered outdoor beer garden stretches along the north side of the building. German folk music is pumped from the sound system.
For a 2 p.m. lunchtime, the café is bustling, with waiters in lederhosen and alpine hats hustling between tables carrying fistfuls of beer steins. Hubby and I ordered two steins of hefeweizens to be delivered to our booth, and then dove into the depths of the menus.
Husband-and-wife owners Werner and Martina Horvath, originally from Europe, took over the restaurant ownership from Werner’s aunt and uncle in 2001. The couple came to Myrtle Beach with a wealth of culinary experience, including Werner’s family’s hotel in a small town in Austria, training in culinary school for both, and working at world-famous Austrian ski resorts for both. The Horvaths’ menus today at Café Old Vienna are a reflection of their passion, or what they call “German soul food.”
I embraced my Swiss-German heritage (my maiden name is Burkholder) and the restaurant’s comfort dishes by opting for their Pierogies lunch entrée. The platter arrived with about a half-dozen pierogies stuffed with cheddar cheese and mashed potatoes, then sauteed with onions, butter, and chipped bacon. A fresh side salad tossed with tomatoes and cucumbers was drizzled with the house honey-vinaigrette dressing. Every last bite was delicious!
Hubby chose the Weiss-Wurst lunch entrée from their wide variety of sausage options (There’s also bratwurst and sauerkraut, knackwurst, and bockwurst). The weiss-wurst was plated with two pieces of fresh boiled veal sausage, a German specialty, potato salad, and red cabbage. He loved the complete package: the fresh, light sausage dipped in one of their spicy mustards, the vinegar-based potato salad, and red cabbage.
There are other ways to fully immerse yourself in the Germany culinary culture here at Café Old Vienna, of course. Try one of their schnitzel specialties, which includes the original veal, almond-breaded veal, pork tenderloin, jaeger (covered in mushroom gravy), parmesan-crusted chicken, and the farmer’s schnitzel, a dish of breaded pork tenderloin wiener schnitzel topped with brown gravy, a sunny side up egg, capers, and a side of spatzle (noodles) and veggies.
You also can’t go wrong with any of the appetizers, such as a 7-ounce soft pretzel, fried German dumplings stuffed with cream cheese, corn, and bacon, and grilled pork belly paired with a soft pretzel stick and garlic sauce.
Sip on a sampler paddle lined with six of their German-Austrian beers on draft. And save room for one of their dessert delicacies - you can take a sneak peek at them in the display case by the host stand when you first walk in. Choose from apple strudel, Vienna crepes stuffed with apricot or Nutella filling, Black Forest or German Chocolate cake, and more.
Happy hour happens in the bar area and beer garden only from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring plenty of food and drink specials.
Café Old Vienna embodies the beauty of the German-Austrian culinary culture, thanks to the owners lovingly sharing their homegrown roots. Like me, I think you will find that it’s a special corner of the world, too.
Café Old Vienna Restaurant, Bar & Beer Garden
1604 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
Phone: (843) 946-6252
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 2-4 p.m. (afternoon menu) and 4 to around 8:30 p.m.