I arrived at Das Schnitzel to locked doors at three minutes before noon. I stepped back to take a photo and in that brief moment the doors were unlocked and two interlopers rounded the corner and walked straight in ahead of me. You snooze and you lose in the world of schnitzel.
Sherri Bowles and George Rausz opened their restaurant in the same space as what was formerly Gorilla Cheese. A few of us kept tabs on the progress. Despite initial hopes, they didn’t open in time for Sew Hungry. They did open the following week to some social media posts but not much fanfare.
The family run restaurant is a first venture for the couple, although Sherri said over Facebook Messenger that George had some experience working in restaurants operated by his parents. They don’t live in Crown Point but they “grew up in Hamilton, around the Crown Point Community.” Sherri, added, “We chose Crown Point because of the heavy foot traffic. It is a great location for new businesses, and (there are) great food options around here.”
Given the configuration of the building, it isn’t surprising that the place feels unchanged from past tenants. The kitchen is open, clean, and sits behind the counter from which orders are placed. There is limited seating available just inside the doors. The friendly staff will bring your food to you if you’re eating in, but everything is served in boxes ready to go.
“Schnitzel has always been a regular meal in our household. Every family event or holiday was always hosted at our house and everyone always wanted schnitzel dinner instead of the regular turkey or ham,” Sherri said in response to why a schnitzel restaurant? “Family members always wanted schnitzel for their birthday dinners. We have talked for many years about opening up a Schnitzel restaurant.”
The recipes were passed down from his grandmother to George, who became passionate about opening a restaurant to share them. “George had enough of busting his butt doing construction all year and we were both honestly tired of working for other people and not seeming to get ahead,” Sherri said. “So with some pressure and encouragement from good friends and family we decided to take the chance.”
I ordered the ‘Original’ sandwich with pork schnitzel, sourkrout, fried onions and bacon along with a side of German potato salad. The portions are generous. The sandwich included two pieces of golden brown and hot schnitzel on a fresh bun. The first bite did not disappoint. It was cooked just right, tender, and flavourful. The fried onions were perfect.
The potato salad wasn’t really for me, though. It also contained bacon along with red onions and was tossed with a dressing over large chunks of potato. I ate it. Every bit. But I probably would have enjoyed the roasted potatoes more. Others will disagree with me and that’s fine. There are an assortment of sides available. That said, no side is necessary as the sandwich is very filling. I left feeling a little stuffed. In fact, sharing a sandwich and a side would probably be a decent, and very affordable, lunch for most appetites if you’re with someone with whom to share.
Prices are reasonable, especially given the portions. Sandwiches, pork and chicken, are $9.95 and $12.95, respectively. Pork schnitzel plates are $12.95 and, for chicken, the plate is $15.95. A plate is served with a choice of salad and fries. Side dishes include the potato salad, roast potatoes, fries and poutine. They also offer soups, salads, and goulash.
Pay a visit. Schnitzel lovers will not be disappointed, but be aware there is a lunch rush. Bring your appetite.