When I first started working at my current school, our group of new people really made an effort to go out together to get to know one another. Maybe for that reason or simply by chance, we all clicked. Our restaurant of choice on such occasions was a tiny German pub called the Holzkrug (meaning wood jar) hidden on a side street in the town close to work. In fact, the nondescript exterior wouldn't have turned our heads if it hadn't been a favorite of some of the more seasoned staff.
Even today, after a late night at work or after a particularly hard week, I like to go out for a drink with my coworkers at the Holzkrug to catch up, release some steam, and enjoy the traditional delicious German food. I recently had just such a week that was both busy and late, and so one day after work my coworkers and I walked down to the pub for a long-overdo beer after the summer holiday.
The exterior of the Holzkrug may not look like much, but inside there's a long, narrow room containing a bar to the left and a dozen or so tables on the right. The walls are lined in wood paneling and are decorated with paintings, old photographs, and antique instruments. The effect is altogether rustic, and you would be forgiven for thinking that you'd stepped into the past. I love this dark, cozy atmosphere and usually opt to sit at the back in the secluded group table behind a wood column where we have the space to ourselves.
The Holzkrug has a surprisingly long menu for such a small establishment, selling everything from Maultaschen to Rostbraten (despite what the online menu suggests). Every day you can also find a separate specials list based on what's fresh and in season. Their drink menu is rather limited to beer and soft drinks, although they do have a couple of house wines. This doesn't really matter much to me, though, because I only ever go for the beer and I only ever order a Hefeweizen (my favorite) on tap, which comes in a small or large size.
My favorite meal at the Holzkrug is the humble Wienerschnitzel. Despite the simplicity of the fried veal cutlet, I've had some pretty mediocre schnitzel during my time in Germany. The Holzkrug, on the other hand, has perhaps the best schnitzel that I've had in Stuttgart, and maybe even all of Germany. The reason, I'm convinced, is because it's made fresh in the kitchen, which can be a rarity given all the restaurants that opt for the easier frozen and reheated cutlets. I know that the Holzkrug makes their cutlet fresh because every time I order one I can hear them pounding the meat thin in the back before breading and frying it up for my dinner. You can also see and taste the difference in the breading that sticks to the cutlet, yielding a rich, crunchy shell around the light, thinly-pounded meat.
It helps, too, that the meal is quite substantial, and all for less than 10€. All meals come with a rather large German-style salad, complete with corn, beans, and potato salad. The schnitzel also comes with deliciously crispy french fries, which I like to eat rot-weiss style with ketchup and mayonnaise. I've also tried several other dishes from their menu, and can heartily recommend their Putenschnitzel (thin turkey cutlet) with herb butter and the Jägerschnitzel with a dark mushroom sauce and spätzle. Though apart from these suggestions, you can try anything you like from the menu and I guarantee it will be just as tasty.
I can't remember if the Holzkrug has an English menu, but I do know that the staff can speak a bit of English if you need them to when ordering. They are all generally nice, but know that they can turn sour if you start to make a lot of noise (which we do, on occasion). It's important to remember that the Holzkrug is more like a tiny family restaurant than a bar. Which is perhaps another reason why it's continued to be one of our favorite places to go over the years. At this point it has become comfortable for us. We know the staff and the food, and they know us. While I wouldn't say that I have a true "neighborhood restaurant" here, the Holzkrug is about as close as it comes for me.
The Holzkrug is located in Degerloch on Löwenstraße. It's an easy three minute walk from the Degerloch u-bahn station through scenic little Degerloch, which is about 20 minutes south of the Stuttgart city center. Be sure to check it out the next time you're in the mood for German food or looking for a quiet meal outside the usual city spots.