Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ann Arbor Old German Restaurant Potato Salad

Ann Arbor has been home to several German restaurants - most notably Metzgers, the Heidelberg and the Old German.   The only one that remains as it once was is the Heidelberg - the other two were victims of the sky high rent in downtown Ann Arbor.   Metzgers closed and reinvented itself in a strip mall halfway on the freeway between Ann Arbor and Dexter, and the Old German became Grizzly Peak Brewery.    However, many Ann Arbor townies fondly remember the Old German as their favorite. And a favorite dish from the Old German is the kartoffel salat, or potato salad.    A party store in town still makes it for sale in their cooler.  

I wrote a post a couple years back about the demise of the Ann Arbor News Food Section, and their wonderful "Kitchen Mailbox" feature. Readers could write in and ask for their favorite recipe from local restaurants.   I could never find a recipe for the Old German Potato Salad in the Ann Arbor News, but they often featured other recipes from the German restaurants.   A reader of my blog posted in the comments of my blog post about how much they wanted the Old German Potato Salad recipe.   So I went on a quest to find it.....and I finally did!

About 12 years ago, a waitress from the Old German self published a recipe book of restaurant favorites., and I finally laid my hands on a copy of it.   I found the recipe for the famous potato salad and there's really nothing to it - I improved upon it here because the one on the book is a little vague and made it a little tangier....the  vinegar to oil ratio was a bit too lackluster for my taste.

Old German Potato Salad

8 medium potatoes, unpeeled and whole
1/4 c sliced white onion (thinner is better - use a mandoline or food processor if you have one)
3 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c cider vinegar
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 can chicken broth

Cook potatoes whole until just tender.   After they have cooled enough to handle, peel and slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick.  In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and pour over potato slices.  Let stand for 30 minutes until serving and stir gently - serve at room temperature.  Refrigerate any leftovers. 


Tracy's Living Cookbook said...

What a simple recipe for one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes. I must admit, I have never seen a German Potato Salad without bacon and some of the bacon grease. I remember that my grandma used to put some celery seeds in hers also. I love this type of old-time recipe.

Liza @ Provence in Ann Arbor said...

Hi Cindy! I remember my dad and I making special trips from Detroit to eat German food in Ann Arbor when I was a kid. Now that I live here, I never eat it! (not that there is much left). This salad recipe is so very simple too--I definitely prefer a German potato salad to a mayonnaise-soaked American one. I'll be saving this for sure!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,

Can you tell me what the name of this cookbook is or where to find it. I am looking for receipies from the Old German of their spazel noodles and braised beef short ribs.

Cynthia said...

Sure - this is the book....I got it out of the Saline Library interlibrary loan

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this potato salad recipe. I LOVE Old German potato salad. The cookbook is over 70 at Amazon, but they have it at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Old German potato salad. Thanks for publishing the recipe. The Ann Arbor District Library has it. I just put it on hold. The price at Amazon is over $70 with shipping, and that's for a used copy.

Robin Panzer Art said...

Oh thank you so much for your quest to find this recipe. I remember it so fondly from my childhood!

Unknown said...

Great post, thank you for sharing :) I just wanted to make a correction that the owner of the Old German, Bud Metzger, also owned the building itself. When he retired in 1995 he sold the building and closed his restaurant, it was not due to the high rent costs in the city.

Steve d said...

Mark Metzger (rip) made the potato salad for years. I worked with Mark and for Bud (rip) from the mid 70's through the 80's.Mark was a very good friend thru those years. 40yrs later I can say that Bud was by FAR the best and most understanding boss I ever had.I'll have fond memories of both of them. By the way it was beef stock.

Anonymous said...

Which party store in Ann Arbor still sells this in their cooler? Your link has expired... just curious if they are still around and selling it! = Thank you =

Cynthia said...

Ooops I fixed link. Ann Arbor Party Center

Unknown said...

I have a copy of the book and it says either chicken or beef stock. We might have to do a comparison... I know the beef stock tastes great!