Steppin’ Out – Weinerschnitzel, Placerville

I usually head to Wienerschnitzel when I have a desire for something different, such as a Polish sausage sandwich on rye with a pickle, but once a year they serve a grilled bratwurst for “Oktoberfest” and I HAVE to get one of those.

Although not as famous as many of the other fast food restaurants, Wienerschnitzel has been around for some time, having been founded in southern California back in 1961 by John Galardi. Known as the “World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain,” they have 358 locations and serve 120 million hot dogs a year.

Wienerschnitzel celebrates its “sort of German” roots with the return of grilled bratwurst through the end of October each year. You can enjoy this authentic grilled sausage topped with mustard and kraut or mustard and grilled onions. To enhance this German favorite even more, this year Wienerschnitzel has also introduced a brand new soft and chewy pretzel bun to complement the savory flavor of their bratwurst.

My friend Russ Salazar mentioned to me that he had driven by the Wienerschnitzel at the corner of Broadway and Schnell School roads (1365 Broadway) and had seen the bratwurst sign in the window. So, I got back to him and we met there for lunch a week or so ago.

You can actually order any of their hot dogs and substitute the grilled bratwurst for an additional cost, but we decided to try two they way they advertise them, with mustard and onions, but one on a pretzel bun, which was the best idea we had that day. We decided against the sauerkraut since we wanted to taste the bratwurst in all its glory.

We had them cut in two, so we could share them, and when Russ bit into the one in a pretzel bun his eyes actually lit up.

“This is the best pretzel bun I have ever had,” he said. “It’s not like the ones from the stores, it is softer. All the rest have been just too chewy, but not this one.”

He paused for a moment and then bluntly added, “It makes the rest of them taste like crap. They just sold me on pretzel buns.”

Both of us agreed that the bratwurst were some of the very best we have eaten, nice and fat and full of flavor, and, we both loved their pretzel bun. I think next time I will only order them with that bun.

After we had devoured the two bratwurst sandwiches, Russ decided that he would also like to retry a chili dog with an Angus beef dog.

I like their chili dogs, but Russ really likes them. Their chili has a secret recipe and tastes different from all the others. It has a good tang.

While we were enjoying the remnants of the chili dog, the store manager, Frank Atefi, came by to see how we liked the food and dropped off a large order of fries for us to try.

Now, you know my problem with fries. If you give me 10, I will eat 10. If you give me 100, I will eat 100. No fries go to waste. Well, too many go to my waist.

They were very crispy, the way I like them, and they stayed that way while we ate them and chatted with Frank.

He is in the process of remodeling the restaurant and has found out two things: The people in Sacramento who do this kind of work don’t want to drive to Placerville, and a lot of local businesses don’t seem to return calls. He said the biggest problem was getting someone who would replace the carpet with tile.

Well, back to the restaurant. Wienerschnitzel serves a lot of things other than hot dogs, but if that is what you are looking for their menu includes hot dogs with any combination of the following: mustard, chili, bacon, relish, onions, cheese or sauerkraut, along with a Junkyard Dog, Deluxe Dog with tomato and a Chicago Dog. And, you can get them with their Original Dog, a 100% beef Angus Dog or a Polish sausage. Of course, through the end of October with the bratwurst.

Whoops, I almost forgot the corn dog and mini corn dogs.

They also have burgers and cheeseburgers, with or without chili, the famous Polish sandwich and, sadly, on rare occasions, pastrami, when the market price isn’t too high. And, don’t forget their great fries, which come plain, or covered with chili, cheese, bacon and more.

For the kids, you can get a meal with a mustard dog, corn dog or mini corn dogs and milk. Remember what Russ says, if you serve kids, you should have milk on the menu, and they do.

They also have several combos with one or more burgers or dogs, fries and a drink, or large “Crowd Pleaser Meals” for a group.

To add to your meal or have after your meal, don’t forget they also have a Tastee Freez section with lots of great ice cream treats (Yum, shakes).

Our Wienerschnitzel also has a drive-thru, in addition to inside seating, and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). They can be reached at (530) 295-8255.

It’s a happy place with friendly people.

Anyone else recall when it was Der Wienerschnitzel? My German teacher told me it was not masculine, but neuter, and should have been Das Wienerschnitzel.

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