Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten brings German-inspired cuisine to Huntington.
For most West Virginians, sauerkraut and schnitzel don’t belong in the same sentence as Appalachian fare like chow-chow and butter beans, much less on the same plate. At Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten in Huntington, however, the flavors of Germany and West Virginia are a natural fit.
The restaurant’s co-owners, Jessica Bright and Patrick Guthrie, are no strangers to putting new twists on classic cuisines. They also own Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, a Mexican-inspired gastropub known for its unique burritos. “People looked to us for pushing boundaries and taking different approaches to food,” Guthrie says. “We owed it to German food to take a different approach as well.”
Executive chef Jeremiah Bowen, who also concocted Black Sheep’s menu, whipped up the mouthwatering menu. The sausages are house-made but with unconventional twists. The Greek lamb sausage is served on a kolache bread dressed with Moroccan aioli, feta cheese, and toasted walnuts. The currywurst sandwich features raisin chutney and sweet potato straws. The house brat comes smothered with Bahnhof’s own turbo sauerkraut, its spicier take on kraut. “With some of the sausages, we were able to have fun and not be constricted to a certain authenticity,” Guthrie says.
For entrees, traditionalist foodies will enjoy the jägerschnitzel, a thin pork cutlet with cremini mushroom sauce. More adventurous diners can try the Appalachian pork schnitzel topped with chow-chow and butter beans. The weisswurst, or veal sausage, comes atop a bed of egg noodle dumplings called spätzle. Other than sausage sandwiches, Bahnhof features other inspired sandwiches, including a corned beef brisket Reuben and a house-ground burger.
Beer connoisseurs can choose from one of 33 beers on tap underneath lights shaped like hops—the plant used to flavor and preserve beer. Offerings include imports from Germany and Belgium as well as local brews from Bad Shepherd Beer Company in Charleston. Need an appetizer to go with your beverage? Try the deviled eggs or one of Bahnhof’s soft pretzels, which are more than big enough to share—and they come with raspberry-buckwheat honey butter, Bavarian mustard, and beer cheese for dipping.
Guthrie lived in Germany for several years while growing up. There, his family’s home was close to the “bahnhof,” or train station, where he could hop on a train and travel throughout Europe. Although he didn’t know it then, that experience would be the first stop on the journey that would lead to West Virginian Bahnhof’s creation.
The building, which is located alongside train tracks, has housed other restaurants for the past couple of decades, but Bright and Guthrie’s renovations doubled the capacity. Huntington-based design firm Ackenpucky used the inside space to marry modern flair with European roots. Wooden murals of German rail lines, designed by artist David Seth Cyfers, cover the walls, and a chandelier of German license plates dangles from the ceiling. Outside, the restaurant’s covered, two-story patio—complete with a fire pit—allows for outdoor seating and entertainment, just like a traditional biergarten. “Bahnhof was a passion project,” Guthrie says. “It took a lot for us to manifest and design.”
Guthrie says the concept for the restaurant was risky, but the community’s positive reception since it opened in April 2017 has been a welcome surprise. “There’s been an explosion of good restaurants in Huntington, and I feel like we’ve had some influence in that,” he says. “We want to make Huntington a destination for going out to eat.”
745 7th Avenue, 681.204.3837, bahnhofwv.com, visithuntingtonwv.org