OKTOBERFEST at Speisekammer
Ah Labor Day! The traditional end of summer and the beginning of fall may kick off a malaise, or feeling of discontent that time is marching on. The perfect antidote to this seasonal uneasiness is Oktoberfest! What better way to improve your mood than to indulge in an authentic and delicious German meal at Peter Kahl’s Speisekammer, located in Alameda? How better to cheer yourself up than with one of more than 17 imported and domestic beers on tap?
Peter Kahl, the owner of Speisekammer, didn’t plan to have a restaurant in Alameda, but a series of chance events led to the establishment of this beloved German restaurant.
For as long as he could remember, while growing up in Flensburg Germany, Peter Kahl wanted to be a chef and own a restaurant.
After graduating from a hotel school for management and business, Peter worked in different restaurants and major hotels in Berlin for seven years, where he trained in every section of the restaurant business. He always knew what the name of his restaurant would be, Speisekammer, which means “pantry.”
On a lark, Peter came to the United States in 1994, traveling to the West Coast, and ending up in San Francisco. He didn’t really plan to stay here at all, but fate stepped in when Pete won a coveted green card in the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Peter’s first job was in Hayes Valley, where he became part owner of a restaurant after 9 months. “It was pretty chaotic there because they didn’t really have a real restaurant guy, … somebody who really knows how to work in the kitchen and run a restaurant.” During the next eight years Peter married his partner, had two kids, and moved to Alameda where he and his wife bought a former French restaurant in 2002. The couple completely renovated the place and created a favorite German restaurant that serves traditional German food. The menu includes a wide variety of dishes, cooked in the traditional manner with local produce and meats. As mentioned, the beer menu includes over 17 German beers and several other local beers, and they have a full bar and many German style ciders.
Oktoberfest at Speisekammer is a well-known tradition in Alameda and beyond.
The custom of celebrating Oktoberfest began more than two hundred years ago, and today it is the world’s largest volksfest with more than six million visitors traveling to Munich for the beer drinking, dancing, parades and other celebrations. Peter Kahl’s Speisekammer’s Oktoberfest follows the same timetable as in Munich, commencing September 25, 2022 and ending a little over two weeks later. For three Sundays in a row, German bands will play traditional music, and German folk dancers will perform age-old dances. Restaurant patrons are invited to join in the dancing. A special Oktoberfest menu with unique items like Schweinebraten, Sauerbraten, rotisserie chicken, grilled salmon, and many different varieties of sausages grilled with sauerkraut will be available. During Oktoberfest, the well-regarded restaurant is even more popular with those lovers of German food and culture who yearn for a taste of the old country. During the week between Sundays, many Oktoberfest parties are hosted or catered. Peter claims that Speisekammer can create the party of your dreams with everything an Oktoberfest party needs: tables, benches, food and beer on tap for up to 300 people.
So if you experience the doldrums of summer winding down, visit Speisekammer and help yourself to some Teutonic culture and cuisine.
You owe it to yourself to enjoy this special season with Peter and his crew. Luck and hard work has made this restaurant an institution in Alameda. Like Peter says, “The great thing about this place is that we have customers from 20 to 90 years old, so it’s like a real family restaurant where anybody can come, and anybody does.” Prost!!