First Bite: Viener Fest

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OK, go ahead and get over the snickers about the name of this new restaurant. It is what it is, and what it is is pretty darned good. After what seemed like an interminable delay since the first "Coming Soon" sign hanging from the front porch of the old house across the street from Jed's Sports Bar and Grill (y'know, where Acorn used to be in the standard Nashville historical geographical description), Viener Fest is finally open and serving its brand of "German and Austrian Styled Cuisine with an American Accent."

I'll admit that while I was intrigued, I wasn't as excited as some Bites readers who've been all atwitter, including on Twitter. I expected something similar to Cori's around the corner, with a walk-up counter serving some of the best wurst if we were lucky.

I was very surprised when I first walked through the side door (after searching a while for parking) and discovered I was in a nicely decorated, tasteful room of a refurbished bungalow. There's a full bar that features a happy hour I haven't experienced yet and several rooms comfortably furnished with tables of various sizes. Currently, they are serving wine, liquor and high-gravity beers while they await a variance from the beer board due to their proximity to Centennial Park. It sure would be nice to have a pilsner with a wurst.

The menu is much more expansive than I expected, with a large selection of appetizers, soups and salads, sandwiches, sausages, main courses, spaetzle and desserts. I took advantage of a $5.99 lunch special, which included a drink, a sausage dish and a side item from a list that includes sauerkraut, apple sauce, french fries, spaetzle, German potato salad and more. Any of the the lunch sausages can be served on a roll, on German rye bread or stuffed into a baguette that has has the end sliced off. I decided on the European baguette-style.

At my server's suggestion, I chose the Kaiserkraner, a pork and beef sausage mixed with Swiss and Emmenthaler cheeses and seasoned with garlic, pepper and onion. The bread was warmed but not toasted and contributed a perfect chewy/crunchy cradle for the wurst. The sausage itself was delicious and juicy. I can't wait to get back to try some of the other options like the Currywurst and the spicy Debreziner.

I did not avail myself of dessert, but from the looks of the German Chocolate cake towering over the top shelf in the dining room, you'd better save a lot of room for one of those. Viener Fest is open Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m. until late, and on the weekends, brunch starts at 9 a.m. Willkommen!

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Viener Fest
117 28th Ave. N.
(615) 730-5085

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