What’s Good Here? Huller’s Black Forest

Special to The StateSeptember 19, 2012 

Hullers in Columbia SC

HULLERS BLACK FOREST

  • Huller’s Black Forest 380 Columbiana Drive near Columbiana Centre PRICES: Entrees are generally in the $15 range. A 12-ounce filet mignon is $21.95. HOURS: Monday and Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. INFO: www.hullersonline.com or (803) 781-0026

What’s good here?

As an authentic German restaurant, meat is a main focus. Steaks and chops can be custom-ordered. Selections include a 12- or 16-ounce New York strip or ribeye, twin thick-cut pork chops, as well as barbecue ribs. Traditional German dishes would not interest vegetarians. There is the popular wiener schnitzel, which is tender pork cutlets that are lightly breaded and sautéed. Try the variation called schnitzel ala Holstein, which is garnished with a fried egg, anchovies, and capers, or Jager schnitzel, with a mushroom sauce. Marinated prime beef is served with potato dumplings and goulash. For an appetizer, Huller’s serves Kartoffelpuffer mit apfelmus, (potato pancakes with applesauce). Kase Spaetzle is homemade egg noodles served with grated Swiss cheese and butter. All dinners are served with a basket of fresh breads and creamery butter, a homemade soup of the day or a garden salad, as well as a choice of German sides. For lunch or dinner there is a German style buffet.

What else?

Desserts are worth saving room for: rice pudding, German chocolate cake, Black Forest cake, apple strudel, carrot cake and New York style cheesecake. Huller’s offers catering, and a butcher’s shop with such meats as polish kielbasa, German bologna, onion liverwurst, jaeger wurst and bratwurst. A blackboard at the entry way offers weekly specials: on Monday, get a free mug of beer and half-price mugs after the first, as well as half-price for kids’ meals. Weekly, there are beer and wine tastings, with selections that include German varieties. A Bring Your Own Stein night ensures that customers will receive half-prices on beer if they, indeed, bring their own German stein.

What does the place look like?

Window boxes with flowers welcome visitors to this “restaurant row” area just down from Columbiana Centre. Step inside and experience a traditional Old World ambiance. Smells of traditional German dishes and enticing strudels and cakes greet customers. German music entertains in the flag-lined dining room. A butcher shop showcases homemade kielbasas and hand-cut bacon, for example. A bar areas celebrates German beer and the recognizable German stein.

Who eats here?

Strategically located just off Interstate 26 – the main route from the mountains to the sea – Huller’s pulls in travelers from all over. Plus, shoppers perusing Columbiana Centre make it a point to dine. Regulars are from the Lake Murray, St. Andrews and surrounding areas.

How did Huller’s open in Columbia?

When Wilfried Huller immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1960s, he brought with him the art of sausage making. He settled in New Jersey and opened Huller’s Black Forest retail and butcher shop, which evolved to include catering, a mail order service, and eventually a full-service German restaurant. Although successful for around 40 years in New Jersey, Huller’s restaurant was moved to Columbia a few years ago because the Huller family had visited the area and decided it was time to move south.

Currently, the restaurant is owned and operated by Wilfried’s son, Jim, and his wife, Susan. “We had been to South Carolina many times,” says Jim Huller, “and we like the area.” The Hullers plan to carry on the German culinary tradition that was started by his father.

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