It’s no secret that German chefs (and connoisseurs of the cuisine) have an affinity for sausages. Bratwurst; knackwurst; leberwurst; the good old-fashioned frankfurter; bregenwurst; more. And then, of course, there’s German beer — which, according to the country’s traditional standards, must be made from only three ingredients: water, malt and hops.
You might not expect to find these old-world standards in Pinetop-Lakeside. But Munich Haus, a family restaurant and beer garden, is once again serving up the White Mountains’ most authentic German fare, delighting people who find themselves drawn to the high country during an Arizona summer.
“My family’s heritage is German, and we’ve always been fans of sausages and good German beer, so why not open a place with everything we love?” says Munich Haus’ owner, Brandi Kraxberger.
The family ran the first iteration of Munich Haus behind Charlie Clark’s Steakhouse, near Fred’s Lake, from 2004 to 2010. When they closed it, Kraxberger took a decade away from “the mountain” before deciding to return last year to reopen Munich Haus in a new location. She considers the new version a simpler concept, and it’s one that worked well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We actually opened the last weekend in March , right when everything started to get crazy,” she says. “We opened up with a food truck in our parking lot where everything was to-go, and it was perfect for the situation we were facing. The food truck offered most of our items, as well as to-go beverages — beer included. Most people really enjoyed tailgating in our parking lot, or bringing lawn chairs and enjoying their food and drinks in the comfort of their own areas, and felt very safe. We were in the food truck until the end of July, when we moved to outdoor seating in the beer garden.”
Now, customers can dine inside or outside and order from a menu that includes German staples such as a rich pork schnitzel sandwich topped with Black Forest ham and melty Swiss cheese. There are one-third-pound sausages in varieties that include bockwurst, bratwurst and chicken-apple, all sourced from Schreiner’s Fine Sausage in Phoenix and charbroiled to perfection. Mustards, sauerkraut and sweet pickle relish are served on request, and Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese, sweet apple strudel and a Reuben sandwich make menu appearances as well.
“You can’t beat having a beer, a cocktail or a glass of wine sitting outside in our awesome beer garden when the weather is [beautiful],” Kraxberger says. “It’s like relaxing in someone’s backyard, having a summer-night barbecue under our string of lights and enjoying some lawn games, too.”
But it’s not the sandwiches, or the sausages, or the strudel, or even the string of lights that seems to resonate most with regulars, she adds. It’s the Reuben balls — golf-ball-sized morsels of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, rolled into a pizza-pretzel crust and deep-fried. While there’s no guarantee that pairing them with a beer and eating the whole basket will transport you to Bavaria, a little imagination can go a long way.
2044 E. White Mountain Boulevard