Those who know me (or who follow our 7x7bitsbites Twitter feed) know that I have been quietly obsessing over Schmidt's for quite a while now. Ever since first hearing that the space on 20th and Folsom, formerly occupied by El Farolito, was being taken over by the Walzwerk owners and that sausage, German snacks and beer were going to be in full effect only a block from my house, I have biding my time.
While Schmidt's awaits their liquor license (due in early June) they're currently open only for lunch, Monday through Friday, which stalled my first visit by a few weeks. But I finally got over there last Friday for lunch. If you are a fan of Walzwerk you'll recognize the thüringer bratwurst on the menu—though at Schmidt's they have six other varieties, including a smoked wild boar and a kielbasa. They're not yet made in-house, but plans are in the works. Order a sausage at Schmidt's and it comes sided with an excellent scoop of potato salad, a mound of sauerkraut and some well-dressed lettuce. In my mind, it's the perfect midday meal. It's also only $8. It took significant restraint not to also order the veal schnitzel sandwich—pounded, breaded, fried veal, chive sour cream, red onion and lettuce—to which you can add a fried egg if the spirit moves you ($10/$12 with egg).
The lunch menu is rounded out by a soup and a few salads, along with platters of German cured meats, and you can order a side of potato, kohlrabi, rutabaga and spring onion gratin as a side (spatzle, kraut and potato salad can also be ordered as sides).
I happen to be a fan of Walzwerk in spite of—maybe because of—it's prison-like feel. Schmidt's, in contrast, is a high-ceilinged, airy space with large picture windows and a wall of German foods available for sale—mustards, elderberry sodas, jars of tiny sausages. It's bare bones, but surprisingly inviting, perhaps because the owner Christiane greets everyone with a warm welcome. Once they open for dinner, which will happen concurrently with the liquor license, I suspect it'll become my new hangout.