303 E Mainstreet Johnson City, TN
Downtown Johnson City has been the bar epicentre of our city for a long time. With a handfull of barber shops, a tattoo shop, bridal stores, a kids museum, and a few art galleries, one would expect to find a couple of bars; one for each little subculture that you can try to squeeze out of a city of less than 70,000. To that end, downtown does our city justice. We have all the pleasantries of a big city from the over priced loft apartments to the pawn shops, and guys already asleep in the city park at noon. Its the last little piece of americana left in a city desparately trying to keep up with the Joneses in terms of Chain resturants, High End Subdivisions, Trendy Clothiers, and a mile long strip of highway’s worth of car dealerships that are just perfect for anyone who wants to live the American Dream.
The last resturant you would expect to stumble into in this older, but familiar part of town is also the one place that fits so perfectly. Its not the Asian Fusion resturant that some guy visited in Portland and decided to re-create in the great appalachians, and at the same time, it’s not the bar around the corner that makes the “Best Bacon Cheeseburger in the World!”. It is the perfect balance of gourmet and home cooking. That is if your family happend to be german. With a relatively small capacity (approx 85-100), you can’t help but feel at home. The resturant is layed out in 2 levels. The floor level has the bar and a couple 2, 4 and 6 top tables. This is also the same floor the kitchen is on. The 2nd level has a few larger tables and such. My favorite part about the architecture of the building would have to be the deer antler chandaliers. If the look and feel of a resturant add to your overall experience this is the place to go.
Once you take your seat and order your drink, you will forget that you are in east Tennessee. Thier beer menu is full of delicious “meal in a glass” lagers, ales, stouts, and pilsners; none of which include PBR, Budwieser, or Michelob Light. Upon your second or third drink out of that Liter of Eurorail Gold that takes both hands to drink, you realize you have been (for the time being) transported across thousands of miles of ocean to a small town pub where a folk duo are singing the most beautiful song you have ever heard, in a language you can’t speak. If you don’t feel like the most important guy in the room by this point, when the owner and chef Andreas personally comes to your table to thank you for coming to his resturant you will start to realize that you have this old feeling that you used to have before you were a grown up. I think they call it “satisfaction” or maybe “enjoyment”, or maybe “satisfaction through enjoyment”.
Regardless of what you order, you will not be able to finish it. From thier Saxon Potato Skins stuffed with such delicious flavor that I woudln’t dare try to recreate for fear of ruining our love affair, to the hand tenderized Schnitzel platter with panfried potatos and red cabbage, you will want to try one of everything on the menu. If you have room in your stomach, or refrigerator, you should try the black forest chocolate cake. I’m not going to try to explain it to you. Some other great dishes to try are the Brats, Fried Cheese Platter, and my personal lunch favorite, The Frikkadela. This 8 oz burger is served on a pretzel bun with muenster cheese and spicy mustard. I dare you not to like it.
In a town full of Chrysler 300’s with Bentley grills, Resturant owners who see dollar signs instead of happy customers, microwave lasagna dinners and fusion resturants with more culinary mash-up than a Girl Talk album. Freiburgs reminds me just how good a resturant can be with the right ethic, a solid menu, and a genuine love for the food you are passionate about.
If you enjoy this I may do more reviews
Photo Credit: Jake Hathaway