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Alameda Restaurant Speisekammer Introduces German Cuisine to Community

By Kelly Church

Cindy Kahl is the owner of Speisekammer, an Alameda, CA German restaurant. Housed in a former French restaurant that, in Kahl's words, "had seen better days." In an area that has few quality restaurants, Kahl considered buying the property and opening her restaurant to be a risky move, but ultimately it paid off.

"[Customers] call it gemütlichkeit in German, which is 'a word used to convey the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness and good cheer'," Kahl said. "In the summer, we have a great outdoor biergarten with umbrellas and traditional biergarten tables. In the winter, folks move inside."

The bar is often playing sporting events, including soccer, while other guests can gather in the back dining room by the fireplace. Kahl described the environment as cozy, casual and fun.

As for the menu, Speisekammer has a very German menu. Favorites include the weiner schnitzel, made with two pork cutlets that are breaded and fried, served with roasted potatoes.

"There's something about the crisp crust on the schnitzel and the thin, but juicy interior," Kahl said. "So tasty, and if you have leftovers, heat it up with a fried egg the next day."

Potato pancakes are also a popular menu item at the restaurant. Also known as reibekuchen, the four-pancake appetizer is served with apple compote. There are daily specials at Speisekammer that highlight more traditional German dishes as well. These include beef rouladen, tafelspitz, and meat and potatoes. There are also some items on the menu that have less of a German flare.

"People tend to think of German food as meat and potatoes, but we have a grilled salmon on the menu, a half-rotisserie roasted chicken and a mushroom strudel," Kahl said. "For vegetarians, we always have three vegetables of the day that can be combined onto one plate as a vegetarian entrée."

To keep customers entertained, Speisekammer has live music Friday and Saturday nights starting at 8:30 p.m. Music covers all styles, with Irish and country as two examples provided by Kahl. The full music and event schedule can be found on the Speisekammer website.

Speisekammer is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Dinner is offered Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The full menu can be found online at speisekammer.com.

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