'Secret restaurant' known for its food

Glenn Jung, Rathskeller Restaurant head chef, puts “a little of this and that” into a Carbonara dish that includs jalapeño peppers, roasted bell peppers, bacon, butter and garlic. The restaurant also serves dishes from Jung’s family recipes. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— In the basement of the old Keidel Memorial Hospital, at 260 East Main Street, is a place many visitors might not know exists.

A walk down the steps reveals, in the confined quarters, a restaurant that serves not only German food, but foods from a wide variety of countries.

“It’s kind of like a secret,” Tula Smajstrla said. “We’re not here only for locals or only for tourists. We’re a laid-back, family-style restaurant, here not only for locals but also for tourists.”

Tula co-owns the “secret” — Rathskeller Restaurant — with her husband, Sean. They opened Rathskeller in July 2000 after originally having The Oak House on South Washington Street.

Sean described their first restaurant as being “very formal” and said they wanted to do something lighter with Rathskeller.

“We also wanted something on Main Street, because in Fredericksburg, you really need to be on Main Street,” he said.

What kind of food does Rathskeller’s serve? The short answer: “Yes.”

“We have a little bit of everything,” said head chef Glenn Jung. “There are different cultures and different types of food. Pastas, salads, American foods, steaks, a little bit of everything.”

Sean added that Rathskeller also offers healthy options.

“We are a very good restaurant,” he said. “We’re great at lunch, great at dinner, but nobody touches our breakfast. We love breakfast. Our breakfasts put us on the map and blow anybody away.”

Among the breakfast items are Eggs Benedict, Oak House Eggs, Smoked Salmon and Eggs and Hill Country Duck Hash.

Rathskeller also serves Jaegerschnitzel, made with veal, as opposed to pounded-down pork.

“Glenn hand-cuts and trims the ribeye steaks and grills them,” Sean said. “There is nothing prepackaged. Everything is done from scratch. We also serve prime rib on the weekends.”

Tula added that they hand-bread their items and also serve home-made cabbage dishes from Jung’s family recipes.

And among the desert items is Rathskeller’s Peach Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce.

“It’s a great meal and great service at a very reasonable price,” Sean added. “I’ve been in this business my whole life, and I’ve never seen anybody top Glenn and his kitchen at the product they put out and the rate they put it out. You’re not here waiting an hour and a half to eat. You sit and soon you’re eating.”

Rathskeller Restaurant Details

• Owners: Sean and Tula Smajstrla

• Established: July 2000

• Address: 260 East Main Street

Phone: (830) 990-5858

• Hours: Wednesday-Mondays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, 5-9 p.m. for dinner. Closed on Tuesday.

• Website: www.rathskellerrestaurant.net

• Facebook: /RathskellerFredericksburg

• Primary business: Breakfast, lunch and dinner with menu items from all over the world.

•Employees: 21.

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