It’s easy to forget that you’re in Whitestone when you’re sitting in the quaint beer garden in back of the Jägerhaus Gastropub, located on the corner of 149th Street near 15th Road. The fences are laced with shrubbery, removing you from the hustle and bustle of Queens.
And while there are American bar foods on the menu—burgers, wings and more—the cuisine is largely traditional German and Austrian dishes. All of the beers and most of the ingredients are also imported from those nations.
“We were looking for a space in the neighborhood where we wanted to fill a void that’s here,” said Bill Gross, one of the restaurant’s owners. “And I think bringing a beer garden to Whitestone just filled that void. We get a wide range of people—I mean young people, old people—I mean, everybody that comes for that Oktoberfest feeling. I think we provide something unique in the neighborhood.”
Gross runs the restaurant with his business partners—Olver Keegan, Christopher Keegan and Christopher Lohnes. Gross hails from a German and Austrian family and said that all four partners utilize their backgrounds in crafting the restaurant’s foods.
The menu offers a wide range of German and Austrian comfort foods. For appetizers, diners can go with a safe crowd pleaser, such as the giant Bavarian pretzel, which is one of Jägerhaus’ most popular items. It’s a huge, greasy comfort food dish that pairs with three flavorful dipping sauces—a rich beer cheese made on-site, sweet mustard, and spicy mustard from Dusseldorf.
Diners interested in trying more traditional German appetizers will find a bit of heaven in the potato pancake, a pan-seared saucer of crisp potato served with a rich applesauce and rosemary cream. The crisp exterior surrounds a succulent and filling inside. And for more adventurous diners, there’s herring in cream—tender strips of herring in a mustard cream sauce, served with sharp pickled onions on toasted rye bread. It’s an extremely flavorful combination that offers a taste of traditional Germany at its finest.
In terms of entrees, the Hungarian goulash is a knockout. It features tender, smoke-braised strips of beef that are packed with flavor served over spaetzle—a traditional dumpling-like meal from Germany and Austria. There are also some classic dishes, such as a crispy breaded Wiener schnitzel served with home fries, red cabbage and sauerkraut and in a creamy lemon sauce.
“Traditionally, in Austria, it’s served plain with lemon on the side, so we incorporate that lemon flavor differently,” Gross said.
And, naturally, there are a number of Bavarian sausages on the menu. Try the Wurst sampler to get one of each and decide which is your favorite: the pork bratwurst, pork and veal bockwurst or beef knackwurst.
Gross began his cooking career in pastries and his influence shows in the desserts. From the ice cream to the cakes, everything is made on-site at the Jägerhaus. The German chocolate cake is the highlight. With a little bit of homemade, spun peanut butter ice cream, it’s a dish sure to send you home happy.
Of course, the beer garden has a wide variety of refreshing, imported beers. For a fruity summer drink, try the Shöfferhoffer Grapefruit, a sweet beer that will cool you down on a hot summer day. Or, go for the year-round favorite: the Spaten Oktoberfest.