In Germany and Austria, family dinner tables are often filled with steaming dishes of spatzle, platters of golden brown schnitzel, and bowls of seasoned red cabbage. This was the meal I so often enjoyed at my mother-in-law Rita’s table. She was an excellent cook who was born in Darmstadt, Germany, and the tastes of her homeland were always some of our favorites.
On my recent road trip through the Carolinas, I was delighted to discover Cafe Old Vienna in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Martina and Werner Horvath have brought this old world European taste to America, where their restaurant Cafe Old Vienna pays tribute to the time-honored culinary traditions of their Austrian youth. Both Martina and Werner enjoyed careers in the hospitality industry overseas before settling into Myrtle Beach and taking over the restaurant started by Werner’s aunt and uncle years earlier. Now, they work together to ensure quality dishes and exceptional service.
Today, this quaint cafe may seat a few dozen guests at its handful of tables, but it’s no wonder German-born locals claim “the food is a taste of home.” Authentic, perfectly prepared, and seasoned to perfection, Chef Werner’s dishes are a tribute to his heritage.
For lunch, my nephew Daniel and I indulged in a bowl of the fresh-made butternut squash soup, followed by pork wiener schnitzel for me, and jaeger-schnitzel for him. Chef Werner has perfected the art of frying cutlets to a moist, tender crisp. And unlike some places that drown food in gravy, Werner adds just the right amount to accent the dishes he prepares. Spatzle was tender and light, and the red cabbage had a delicious tangy-sweet bite. For dessert, how could we resist the apple strudel with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and strawberries? One portion was more than enough to share after such a big, satisfying meal, but I can assure you, none of it remained.
Please make time to visit Cafe Old Vienna the next time you’re in Myrtle Beach. It will feel like visiting a good friend for a great meal.
3901 N. Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Open for lunch and dinner hours, Tuesday through Saturday.
Dinner reservations highly recommended.