Hans & Franz Biergarten is a new Greenville restaurant and bar, brought to you by the owners of Addy’s Dutch Cafe. Addy’s has been a downtown staple for many years, especially if one is looking for some great European brews; unfortunately, after a recent visit to Hans & Franz, this particular restaurant and bar doesn’t quite live up to the hype of its predecessor.
German food really is an acquired taste, but as Hans & Franz is supposed to be an all-out themed restaurant, it sounded promising. It’s not close to downtown–it is actually located on Highway 14, right near that road’s intersection with Pelham Road–which is a bit of a deterrent if one is hoping for a night of bar-hopping. However, it has a beautiful outdoor patio that is a great option when the weather is nice–something that many of the bars in downtown Greenville are lacking.
Upon entering Hans & Franz, one is greeted by beautiful exposed brick walls and interesting, fairly authentic Germany decor. Although the beer list is a bit short, they do offer some usually hard-to-find German and Belgian beers for a nice change of pace. It’s within the menu and the atmosphere that Hans & Franz’s issues lie.
The food here is a strange mixture of the authentic – Bavarian Meatloaf and a German Meatball on a Pretzel Roll – and the not-so-pleasantly surprising – the questionable Raspberry Chipotle Wings. None of the menu items really stood out, taste-wise, so if one was looking for a great snack to go with their German lager, this is not the place to visit.
As for the atmosphere – despite the fact that both the outdoor patio and the inside of the building are decorated to look like a sort of German Brauhaus, for some reason the music being played was akin to late-1990s techno. And it was loud – too loud to allow normal conversation. Although this may have been acceptable later at night at a bar, or in a club, in this case the music merely threw off the entire identity of Hans & Franz. Why bother with whimsical decor that evokes Germany’s fairy-tale vibe, then pump music that is supposedly popular in Germany in these more modern times?
What it all boils down to is that there is a great niche market for theme restaurants. With the right food and drink menus and the proper decor, as long as the food is tasty and the prices aren’t too expensive, a theme restaurant can survive. Especially in a city like Greenville. Maybe – hopefully – Hans & Franz will figure out its identity and be worth a visit.