Germans were one of Pittsburgh’s first non-English speaking immigrant groups and they predominantly settled in an area known today as the North Side but then called Allegheny City (it was not part of the city of Pittsburgh). For simplicity’s sake, the area where the German immigrants lived was known as Deuschtown (German Town).
While Max’s Allegheny Tavern’s name was bestowed upon it by its current owners, the space that it inhabits was a food and watering hole in some capacity, since the turn of the last century (it also served as a hotel for many years). So today, visitors to Max’s Allegheny Tavern will have the chance to dine in a lovely Victorian era setting, one complete with historical memorabilia,and with a touch of the old country as well the new American one.
I’ve been meaning to dine at Max’s for years but somehow never made it there until September (appropriately enough for Oktoberfest). Unlike the nearby Penn Brewery which throws a rather busy Oktoberfest celebration each year, Max’s does not. But that is just fine with me since all I really wanted was some hearty and delicious German fare.
We ended up going for a late lunch/early dinner one Saturday. And even at off-peak dining hours, the place was still pleasantly crowded. Today, the North Side is very much a hard scrabble neighborhood-while some positive change has taken place in more recent years, there is still a long way to go, but it was nice to see people coming from all parts to feast on some of its legendary fare.
To start, we split an order of the Bavarian Soft Pretzels which consisted of three soft-dough pretzels that are deep fried to a golden touch and served with homemade honey mustard sauce. I’m not lying when I say I could have just had these for my meal. They were sheer delectable and it definitely took some restraint not consuming the last one. In hindsight we probably should have eaten it there as it didn’t reheat very well. They also had Stuffed Bavarian Pretzels but that just seemed “weight watchers wrong” if you get my meaning. In this instance, plain was perfect.
The basket of rolls all tables are given were delicious, especially with the homemade apple butter.
I’m a schnitzel girl so for my entree, I selected Wiener Schnitzel which is tender veal that has been lightly dusted in a seasoned flour and fried to a golden brown. Fork tender perfection indeed.
For his main course, D went with Max’s Sampler Platter which allows you to choose three popular entrees from a rather extensive list (all German/Old World favorites). He went with a knackwurst, a kielbasa, and a bratwurst.
All entrees come with your choice of two sides (as if you didn’t have enough food already to consume). I opted for the applesauce (this was German style as the apples were chunky) and spatzle (German style noodles), while D selected the spatzle as well and also the German potato pancakes.
Service was great (nothing beats having a waitress who has such a kind motherly air about her) and the food all sorts of amazing. While it’s rich hearty eating that I don’t think I could consume on a frequent occasion, I can sure enjoy the times that I do. I’m not sure why it took me as long as it did to get to Max’s but you can bet I’ll return.
537 Suismon Street Pittsburgh, PA. 15212