The Bier Stube is - now - a three restaurant operation that was originally based just down the hill from us in the East Village of Davenport. I say "now" because they recently opened their third location in Le Claire, IA - a picturesque community along the Mississippi just up river from the Quad Cities.
(Update - The East Village location closed in December of 2011.)
The first Bier Stube - the one in the East Village - opened about 8 years ago (see map). Austrian native Dieter Rebitzer and his wife, Nancy, realized there really wasn't a true German restaurant in the Quad Cities that featured traditional German food and a great selection of beers. They took a little restaurant in the Village and turned it into a beer lovers paradise. In 2004, they opened a second location in downtown Moline (see map) that featured a much larger bar area, a larger dining room, a larger menu and a very nice beer garden outside. After some delays with the Le Claire legal department, the Rebitzer's opened their third location in Le Claire (see map) earlier this year. Rebitzer's sons - Mike, Ted and Bob - help with the day-to-day operations of all three restaurants.
While we've eaten at the Moline one on a number of occasions, we normally only have beers on our visits to the East Village location (right) because the menu there isn't very extensive as they basically just have a small grill behind the bar. My next door neighbor, George, loves the Bier Stube in the East Village. He and his wife, Hanna, went out to the one in Le Claire a couple months prior to us going out. George said, "The food's good, but if they're trying to call it an authentic German beer hall, it's like trying to say Bennigan's is an authentic Irish restaurant."
We had a tough time getting out to Le Claire the night we went. What is normally a 15 to 20 minute drive out to Le Claire became an hour trip of detours, back roads, and u-turns on Interstate 80 due to a horrific crash just west of the Mississippi River. We finally got into the Bier Stube around 7:30 ready for a beer and some food.
The new Bier Stube in Le Claire is part of a small strip mall that was recently built. Walking in, I immediately saw what George was talking about. While they did their best in trying to outfit the place with Bavarian flags, some signage and a few lights, it really didn't have an "old beer hall" feel to the place. Still, the tables and booths were comfortable, there was a large bar and a great view of the river.
The waitress greeted us and sat us at a booth. She handed us a couple food menus and I ordered up a Warsteiner - one of their over 20 beers on tap - while Cindy had to look through the beer menu. She ended up getting a pint of Samuel Adams, her old stand-by when she can't make up her mind as to what type of beer she'll have.
After being in the car for a little over an hour trying to get out to the Bier Stube, I had to go to the bathroom. I walked into the men's restroom and noticed right away that the large windows that were in the dining room extended into the men's. In other words, there really was no privacy for a guy to go to the bathroom - either at the urinal, where the top of the urinal was just below the window ledge; or in the toilet stall where you could stand and look out at all the people on the beer deck overlooking the river. I thought that to be a little odd.
Our waitress brought back our beers and gave us a few minutes to look over the menu. While the Bier Stube serves such German favorites as Jagerschnitzel, Sauerbraten, and an assortment of sausages, the Bier Stube also has an assortment of burgers, sandwiches and salads to choose from. They have a wonderful corned beef reuben and I got that. Cindy wanted something a little more substantial for dinner so she went with the Sauerbraten. With both meals we got a choice of two sides - Cindy went with the Bier Stube's homemade red cabbage and a potato pancake; I went with a side of red cabbage and sauerkraut. They also have a great German potato salad.
About 15 minutes after we ordered, the waitress brought out my reuben sandwich. She told Cindy, "Yours will be up in a little bit." They could have easily waited to bring my reuben out with Cindy's Sauerbraten, but they chose to bring them out separately. It was a couple minutes more before her meal came out.
My sandwich was very good. The homemade sauerkraut is a perfect complement to the slow roasted corned beef they use on their sandwiches. I believe their 1000 Island dressing is also homemade. I like to get an extra side of dressing to dip the sandwich into, but there was enough dressing on the sandwich where I really didn't need any extra.
Cindy proclaimed her Sauerbraten to be "good". She said, "Ah, it's OK. Pretty basic Sauerbraten."
But both of us loved the red cabbage from the Bier Stube. Cindy said, "They could bring a plate of the red cabbage out and I'd just eat that for dinner." It is very good.
While the interior isn't quite the same as the other Bier Stube locations in the Quad's, the food was still edible, the service was adequate and the beer selection was well above average. I think I still like the Bier Stube in Moline the best, just for the ambiance and decor. But the Le Claire Bier Stube is a nice addition to the local restaurant scene.