In a relatively unassuming strip mall north of Tampa sits a quaint little restaurant that looks like it was lifted straight out of Germany and plopped down in America. Mr. Dunderbak’s started in University Square Mall where it was the lone refuge for parents who needed a beer to relax during the holiday season. When University Square Mall started losing customers and anchor stores, Mr. Dunderbak’s moved out on their own to create Tampa’s longest running German style bierhaus. If you’re a fan of classic German dishes (even the weird ones) then you’ll feel right at home. Don’t care for schnitzel with anchovies and capers? Don’t worry, they have a triple decker sandwich selection to rival any sandwich shop in the region.
Although Mr. Dunderbak’s speciality is German food, there’s a mix of German and American on the menu. You’re sure to find something you like, but they’re most famous for their sandwiches. Although there aren’t many vegan options (just one black bean burger that wasn’t much to write home about), there are a few vegetarian options, and every one of their sausages is gluten-free. Mr. Dunderbak’s is also known for their wide selection of beer. I had the Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest. I was warned that not a lot of people like that selection, but I did. Apparently it’s different for an Oktoberfest beer, but I didn’t mind that. Now, on to the food.
These are two separate appetisers that just looked better in a picture together. The bretzle was good, but what really made it was the variety of mustards we had to choose from. Be sure when you visit that you ask for all the mustards so that you can choose your favorite one. Unless you already know which one is your favorite. Because otherwise, the bretzle is nothing better than what you could get at a mall kiosk. The potato pancakes, on the other hand, were very delicious. These are basically thin circles of hashed potatoes with onion and they come with sour cream and applesauce to dip them in. Think applesauce sounds weird as a dip for fried potatoes? Think again! Try it! You’ll love it!
These are all the mustards you have to choose from when you visit Mr. Dunderbak’s. There’s one for every taste and spice tolerance you might have. And they’re not just for the bretzle; you can keep them on the table for your sandwich or anything else you might want to try. The sandwiches all come with standard ruffled chips which, while not particularly unique, serve as a great vessel for the mustard! These mustards are also available on the shelves inside to buy and take home. You might want to do just that after you taste how delicious they are.
This was my first experience with wiener schnitzel and I was not at all disappointed. It’s herb-breaded with a dark rich hunter, onion, and mushroom gravy with a few mushrooms on top. It was very flavorful and scrumptious. Well-seasoned and perfectly fried. Since it was my first wiener schnitzel I couldn’t tell you if the way in which it was pounded thin was accurate or generally desireable, but I certainly loved it. It came with two sides, and I chose the spaetzel and green beans. These were also great! I’ll definitely be getting this again the next time I go.
The sandwiches on this menu were specifically recommended to me as the best you could ever have and near the top of that list was Der New Yorker. It’s a triple-decker sandwich with corned beef, double smoked pastrami, imported Swiss cheese, aged New York cheddar and a touch of horseradish. It’s served hot and rye bread is recommended. Personally, I’m not a big fan of rye bread, but I figured it went with the sandwich, so I’ll give it a try. Even with my distaste for rye, this sandwich was divine! It’s probably the best sliced-bread sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.
The apple strudel is a perfect dish for those who are fans of good things. It generally comes with a scoop of ice cream on top, but since we had a dairy-sensitive guest with us, we opted for it to go on the side. I, however, have the strong gut of a young calf, so I was able to devour the ice cream along with my portion of the strudel. And, let me tell you, every bite was another piece of heaven. With all the other dishes, I took home leftovers. The strudel was completely gone in seconds.
We were served by Kristen and she knew a whole lot about what we were ordering. It was clear that she spent a lot of time and took a lot of interest in the menu and was able to recommend whatever we needed. It was a light day at Mr. Dunderbak’s, so we didn’t get to meet anyone else, but Kristen’s expertise and friendliness was all we needed.