Bill needed time to bottle his latest homebrew and Zane got us both up at about 4:00am. Consequently, after a morning spent doing laundry, I laid down to read and fell fast asleep. By the time Bill was finished bottling, Zane, Arran, and I were all catching some Z’s. I finally woke up about about 1:45 or so, kinda late for lunch. Since we didn’t go out yesterday, we decided to try lunch at a place where there is no pause.
I generally make it a habit to steer clear of German “American” style restaurants, with the exception of those I know have a connection to an actual American person. However, I had seen Chillers at the Wiesbaden train station and was kind of intrigued by it. I kept getting suggestions to try it on Open Table. So, realizing that a lot of places would be closing soon for their pre-dinner pause, we decided to give it a try. I made a reservation for 3:00pm, but there was no need to do so. They had plenty of open tables.
Before I get too cranked up with my review, I must mention the truly confusing parking garage next to Wiesbaden’s train station. We had a hard time figuring out how to get out of it, since it’s Sunday and the garage is attached to a mall. The mall is closed and they don’t leave it open like they do the Schwabengarten in Vaihingen, and some other places we’ve been when we lived in Stuttgart. It took us about fifteen minutes to find the way out, since every exit had a sign that said it didn’t lead to the mall… not that we wanted the mall. We just wanted to escape the garage. I think we finally just said “fuck it” and picked a door to see where it would lead.
Out front. They were setting up umbrellas for all the pale people avoiding the sun.
Anyway… Chillers is supposed to be a “Californian” beach bar. The bartenders were wearing t-shirts that read “Never leave the beach”. The waitresses were dressed in black. We heard both German and English spoken there. In fact, the staff all spoke excellent English.
The bar area.
Bill told them we had a reservation and the bartender joked that he wasn’t sure he could accommodate, as he pointed out all the open tables. A lot of people were sitting outside, since the weather is warmer today. I wanted to avoid the sun and cigarette smoking, so we decided to sit inside. I liked the music they were playing, which was one part hard driving rock, one part head banging metal. The inside of the restaurant appears to have been part of the train station, so the building has some character. It’s also a bit noisy inside, due to the high ceilings and hard floors.
Bill checks out the menu, which is chock full of burgers, quesadillas, ribs, chicken wings, and a few salads.
I got a kick out of the welcome, which started in English, welcoming everyone to California, then went to German. The menu is in English and German.
Lots of burgers. They let you choose what kind of patty you want– beef or “gemischt”. Mixed there was half beef, half bacon.
We sat in a booth and I decided to have a Lynchburg Lemonade, which is basically lemonade with Jack Daniels. I don’t usually order mixed drinks, but I wasn’t in the mood for beer. Bill had a hefeweizen.
This Lynchburg Lemonade wasn’t bad. It was generously sized and potent. I noticed the non-alcoholic drinks were kind of pricey. For instance, Dr. Pepper was selling for over four euros a can.
Bill had a regular Weizen, also kind of pricey at about 4 euros. I think my mixed drink was about 6 euros.
They also have American craft beers in bottles.
There was a large group of Americans in the restaurant and the wait staff had their hands full with them. Consequently, they were a little too busy to deal with us right away. That was alright, since we weren’t in a hurry. Then the group moved outside, which made things a bit more chaotic. The waitress was apologetic as she took our food orders. I had a “Social BBQ” quesadilla, which was a tortilla with chicken, guacamole, barbecue sauce, melted cheddar, melted Monterrey Jack cheese, and bacon. It came with a choice of sides– fries, garden salad, Caesar salad, or for a euro more, curly fries or sweet potato fries. I went with a small Caesar salad. Bill ordered a half rack of baby back ribs, with Californian jerk sauce, and fries.
Our food took a long time to get to us. After we’d been sitting for awhile without food, the waitress came over and apologized, explaining that the large group had put them behind. It was alright, since we were neither in a hurry nor particularly hungry. However, once the food arrived, I couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t very hot and appeared to have been sitting for awhile. I wondered what it would have been like if they were dealing with that large crowd of Americans and the restaurant was actually full.
My barbecued chicken quesadillas. This was actually good, but not very fresh. Obviously, it sat for awhile before it got to me. The cheese was no longer very melted, and it was just warm. I could have complained, but I didn’t want to wait longer. I did enjoy it well enough. It would have been better if it had been hot.
Bill enjoyed his ribs, which had a bit of heat to them. They were saturated with sauce. He said he also liked the dip that came with the fries. I can’t comment on that, since I didn’t try it. I did try the ribs, which were pretty good. I did notice that the sauce tasted a lot like the sauce that was used on my quesadillas.
After we were finished eating, the waitress asked if we’d like an espresso on the house, since we’d had to wait. I missed that she was comping it and said I’d rather have a shot. She said that was fine. Bill then explained that these were freebies. It was no matter, since the shots were cheaper than an espresso or cappuccino would have been. I decided on Bailey’s. Bill had an espresso.
I was expecting a small shot glass, but she brought me a big glass with a healthy pour that looked watered down… but didn’t really taste watered down.
You can’t go wrong with espresso.
While we were waiting for the check, which came to about 34 euros, we noticed a man talking to the waitress. He was from the large group that had moved outside. We heard him apologizing and wanting to pay for ribs. She said something along the lines of what he was asking wasn’t allowed– I mean, I’m sure she would take his money, but it sounded like something else happened that was technically verboten.
I wasn’t sure what was happening, but her reaction and body language were definitely not what I’d expect from a restaurant in California. It was very German, in fact. But I can’t comment on who was in the right, since I’m not sure exactly what was going on. He seemed to be trying to smooth things over and she was kind of chastising him for something. Rather than stand back and rubberneck, Bill gave her 40 euros and said “Stimmt”, so we could get out of there and let them settle their dispute in peace.
We went back to the parking garage and proceeded to get off on the wrong floor, wandering around the garage for about ten or fifteen minutes in a fruitless search for my car. I kept telling Bill I thought we were a level lower. He finally listened to me and we found the Mini. Very soon, that car will be the senior one in our fleet, as we send his Japanese SUV on to its next owner (in Africa or Asia maybe?) and start driving a Swedish SUV.
As we passed Chillers on the way home, we saw that same large group of Americans standing in a circle in front of the restaurant, appearing to be having a discussion with someone in charge. It just occurred to me that the lady at the bus stop was posing!
This election poster gave me pause. It sounds a bit like MAGA.
It’s election time…
I didn’t think Chillers was horrible. It wasn’t as bad as Chili’s at Ramstein, for instance. I might give it another chance if the opportunity arose and I really wanted a German interpretation of American style junk food, although I don’t think I’d go out of my way to give it another try. I would have had a better impression if my food hadn’t been lukewarm and service had been a little more attentive. However, having once been a waitress myself, I understand that sometimes shit happens. I don’t hold it against her too much. It looked like that group might have been giving her a hard time.
Drinks were a bit pricey, but the food was reasonable. I just don’t want to park at the garage from hell again. Anyway… not my favorite local restaurant… could have been better… but it has its positives, too. Probably best for a young crowd. Bill pointed out that Erbenheim isn’t too far away. I’m sure American youths come by there often to get their chicken wing fixes.