First look — Von Trapp’s brings bocce, beer bier and brats to 12th Ave

The Hill is alive with the sound of beer steins and bocce balls chasing the pallino. CHS first broke the news about a beer hall and those most-exciting bowling courts coming to 12th Ave last July. This week, the team behind Poquitos will open Von Trapp’s, now described as a “Bavarian-inspired bier hall” with with five indoor bocce courts, two mezzanines, three bars, and a fireside “bier den.”

The space is enormous.

“We wanted to create something for everybody — including families,” Deming Maclise, one of the partners behind the venture tells CHS. Maclise told CHS his wife hails from Austria — so she can vouch for boules being a legit Bavarian pastime. In the meantime, Maclise and friends have built a beer hall seemingly big enough to hold every family on Capitol Hill.

An equally epic press release on the new addition to 12th Ave is below. “Beer will obviously be central to Von Trapp’s,” it notes. You can check out the roster of taps, below. Doug Wargo, formerly at Quinn’s, will manage Von Trapp’s beery bar. Cocktails, beer-based, are also available though a Bavarian cocktail hall just doesn’t have the same ring.


Like Poquitos and siblings Bastille and Macleod’s, Von Trapp’s is one notch over the top while remaining sincere to its theme — and just a little clever. It is large enough to feel like three or four separate spaces — Maclise says they toyed with the idea at one point of opening a separate restaurant in part of the building. On entry, you’ll find a hearth and seating area warmed by the fire. A grand stairway leads to one of two mezzanine seating areas. The bench stools, tables and front bar of Von Trapp’s are the brightest area of the hall. The back bar behind the bocce courts is as dark as the wood it is made out of. By spring, there will be even more Von Trapp’s as an outdoor patio — and two more bowling courts — are planned. Poquitos, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

The new joint will celebrate its official opening Sunday, February 10th. Hours are 4 PM to 2 AM daily. You might notice some preview and early opening activity around the place in the meantime. Scratch one more from the CHS list of 20 new restaurants and bars to look forward to in 2013.

The opening comes after Metis Construction’s $500,000+ overhaul of the buildings that most recently were home to a furniture store, a hookah bar and a parking lot. The Strata Architects-designed Von Trapp’s spreads out, now, next to classic college barThe Chieftain – home of the 10 minute ID check — and the mixologist-ic Canon which opened in August, 2011 and helped the further expansion of “Capitol Hill” food and drink onto 12th.

Pete Fjosne steps out of the shadows at Bastille — another part of the Poquitos constellation — to head Von Trapp’s kitchen. Expect plenty of sausages and sauerkraut. Expect pretzels. Expect a menu with a “sausage glossary.” Also expect a new appreciation for smoked and cured meats on Capitol Hill with The Old Sage also prepping to open on 12th and Anchovies & Olive’s little brother Bar Cotto about to open on 15th. Von Trapp’s has the will — and the space — to make most everything in-house from the pretzels to the smoked meats.

As for those bocce courts, Von Trapp’s is planning a mix of reservations and keeping some open for walk-ins. Leagues are planned, the press release below notes. You’ll also find shufflepuck and, yes, some of the bocce balls glow in the dark. Kids — especially ones wearing lederhosen — are also welcome in the hall and on the courts before 10 PM. After that, well, you know what comes next…

 

Von Trapp’s to Open on Capitol Hill
Bavarian-inspired Bier Hall with Indoor Bocce Ball

SEATTLE, February 5, 2013 – Von Trapp’s is the latest venture from prolific Seattle restaurateurs, James Weimann and Deming Maclise. Revered for their design aesthetic and attention to details at Bastille Café & Bar, Poquitos, and Macleod’s Scottish Pub, Weimann and Maclise are known for traveling the globe in search of vintage and salvaged pieces to create vibrant spaces. Von Trapp’s promises to bring genuine Bavarian fun to Capitol Hill when it opens its doors at 4pm on Sunday, February 10.

Located at 912 12th Avenue in a former 1940’s candy factory, Von Trapp’s is a 420-seat Bavarian-inspired bier hall and restaurant complete with five indoor bocce courts, two mezzanines, three bars, and a fireside “bier den.” House-made sausages, a robust beer program, and salvaged and vintage finds from everywhere from Vienna to Munich to Prague complete the remarkable 10,000 square-foot space.

Weimann and Maclise have been thinking about this concept for years and were thrilled to find the perfect space for it last year. They’ve been working closely with Rich Fox and Dustin Watson, who are managing partners at their hugely popular Mexican restaurant and bar, Poquitos. The four will continue their partnership at Von Trapp’s, with Fox and Watson running the show.

“One of the most rewarding parts of being in the restaurant industry is putting together a great team,” says Weimann. “Rich and Dustin are enthusiastic, full of great ideas, and have developed a dynamic and very effective co-management system,” adds Maclise. “We are thrilled to have them as our partners in both ventures.”

Von Trapp’s boasts a colossal bier hall with tall wooden tables and benches inspired by Munich’s famed Hofbräuhaus, plus a back bar, two large mezzanines, and a more intimate “bier den.” Aside from the five indoor bocce ball courts—two more of which will be added to an outdoor patio area in the spring—there’s also shuffleboard and other gaming.

Grand wooden railings salvaged from the McCaw Mansion in Medina lead the way up to the front mezzanine and stunning Viennese chandeliers hang from the ceilings on the main floor. Local elk heads, leather club chairs, booth seating, and a colossal Austrian fireplace complete the “bier den,” and large Belgian doors and pane windows make up one wall of the bier hall. As they did for their other restaurants, Weimann and Maclise went on a scouting trip to five countries, returning home with, among scores of others finds, an entire set of bistro walls from Austria, a Parisian Metro clock, porcelain finials, and inspiration from everywhere from Northern Italy to San Francisco.

Fox and Watson, along with Matt Fundingsland, another member of the Poquitos team, will be dividing their time between the two restaurants. Doug Wargo, previously of Quinn’s Pub, will be the bar manager and brings with him an extensive knowledge of all things beer.

Beer will obviously be central to Von Trapp’s; there will be 25 drafts, half of which will change frequently. The beer selection will be divided 50/50 between European and West Coast beers, and with the selection of bottled beers, there will be about 100 beers total. There are also plans for a growler program and a weekly beer tasting in the “bier den.”

The draft beer list will look something like this: Steigl Lager, Veltins Pilsner, Spaten Lager, Maisel Dunkel Weisse, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, Benediktiner Weissbier, Paulaner Salvator, Auer Schneebock, Bayreuther Landbier, Bayreuther Zwick’l, Kellarbier, Kostritzer Schwartzbier, St Bernadus Tripel, La Trappe Dubbel, Verhaeghe, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Odin’s Gift Amber, Firestone Walker DBA, Schooner Exact 3, Grid IPA, Good Life Descender IPA, Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA, Elysian Dragonstooth Stout, Georgetown Manny’s Pale, Anthem Apple Cider, and two nitro beers, Hales HSB and North Coast Old Rasputin. 

Erik Carlson, the bar manager at Bastille, has put together the cocktail menu, which will consist largely of beer-based cocktails. Cocktails will include: Barrel aged Saab {rye, house-made IPA cordial, Rossbacher, Angostura, and orange bitters} Billy Dawson’s Revenge {bourbon, Cognac, Jamaican Rum, lemon, allspice dram, and Dunkel Weiss} Fire & Knife Cup {mezcal, rhubarb amaro, grapefruit cordial, lime, lager, and chile salt} Roll Pin Shandy {scotch, pear brandy, lemon, orgeat, double IPA, and Boker’s bitters}, and Hogue Avenger Fizz {rye, Averna amaro, lemon, cassis, and pale ale}. Traditional Bavarian aperitifs, such as Underberg, will also be showcased.

Von Trapp’s chef duties belong to Pete Fjosne, who honed his charcuterie and sausage making skills and established relationships with local purveyors and farmers over the past three years as the sous chef at Bastille under Jason Stoneburner. Von Trapp’s menu features locally sourced high-level Bavarian-inspired dishes and classics such as pretzels, sauerkraut, and sausages, all of which will be made in-house. Fjosne recently spent a month traveling in New York and Germany, researching brats, sausages, sauerkraut, and all things Bavarian.

Fjosne worked closely with Stoneburner on menu development, and the two have been using the ‘Buffalo Chopper’ meat grinder to come up with a standout selection of sausages, as well as house-made sauerkrauts, pickles, mustards, and pretzels. The menu includes a sausage glossary with descriptions and ingredients for some of the more obscure varieties of sausages.

The Wurst section includes: Cheddarwurst, Bockwurst, Polish Kielbasa, Bratwurst, Bratwurst, Nuremberg, and Wollwurst served with sauerkraut and fresh horseradish. The Meat/Cheese/Snacks section includes: Sea Salt Pretzels, Landjager, Beef Brisket Goulash, German Potato Pancakes, and Cheddarwurst Sausage Sliders. The Plattes section includes: Sauerbraten, Chicken Wiener Schnitzel, Kasespatzle, and Pfeffersteak. The menu also includes a handful of Flammekuchen, a type of traditional crispy German flatbread, salads, sandwiches, and a Kinder (kids) menu that includes: Grandma’s Roast Pork with potato dumplings and gravy, Chicken Schnitzel with pommes frites, and Potato Pancakes with applesauce.

Weimann and Maclise worked with Metis Construction for the build-out of the space. Metis, who also worked on Poquitos, has a great team of talented craftsmen that carefully restored and integrated the many vintage pieces and also built custom tables and benches to complete the look of Von Trapp’s. Amoreena Miller of Strata Architects was the architect for the project.

Von Trapp’s will be open daily from 4pm – 2am, with weekend brunch and weekday lunch hours being introduced in the near future. Dinner will be served from 5pm to 11pm. Happy hour will be daily from 3pm – 6pm, and a late night menu will be offered from 11pm – 1am. Bocce ball courts will be available for hourly rentals, and there are plans for bocce leagues in the future. Dinner reservations are accepted and can be made by calling 206.325.5409 or online at www.vontrapps.com.

A few of the bocce ball courts will accept reservations, and the others will be reserved for walk-ins. For guests interested in reserving bocce ball courts, booking large parties, or private events, please contact Molly Pluger at resevations@vontrapps.com.

34 thoughts on “First look — Von Trapp’s brings bocce, beer bier and brats to 12th Ave

  1. Not saying I won’t go but I won’t go regularly. Poquito is too over the top and this looks like more of the same. I will go sometimes though. I like having places to go when I want a show. This looks like one. Should be a zoo.

  2. I’m actually REALLY excited about this place. I have the group’s other ventures, and can’t wait for something NEW on the hill. There isn’t a place for great Bavarian food right now, so if their food is as consistent as their other offerings, I’m sure it’ll be great. And, d_hammy, I don’t even live in Bellevue! I would argue not everything has to be hole-in-the-wall and indy to be fun, cool or delicious.

  3. People are so awful. If it’s too much of a show stay home, people would rather enjoy themselves than have someone sitting in the corner judging it all and then getting on their laptop and yelping. No one cares if you don’t like it.

    I for one can’t wait for the food and beer selection.

  4. I pretty much loathe Poquitos, but have enjoyed Bastille, so I hope this concept works out. There really isn’t anyplace nearby that’s good for larger groups, so in that sense, Von Trapp’s could be a winner. I’m not saying I’ll be a regular, but there are worse things than a good beer and a sausage. As for the feared douche-factor, go Monday-Wednesday. Eastsiders never cross the bridge that early in the week. :)

  5. Funny but… not really true. TV for example loves to say something is on “Capitol Hill” no matter where it happened. BTW, did you know we also publish centraldistrictnews.com? In-between areas are tough to manage. I think we handle it pretty well.

    • I appreciate that you’re covering this, and I suspect there’s as much audience on CHS than there would be on CD News for this story. But south of Madison on 12th is not Cap Hill.

  6. Another overpriced, slick, faux European place filled with people who look like they’re trying too hard to have fun.

    Bocce ball? Almost as ridiculous as skittles – and almost as painful to watch.

    If I wanted overwrought fake, I’ll go to Leavenworth.

  7. The City’s Department of Neighborhoods dosen’t seem to find this to be a “in-between” area.
    I live here. We are supporting the revitalization of this neighborhood. When the good things that happen here are credited in the press, and on neighborhood blogs as Capitol Hill it does nothing to help the value of our homes. I cannot list my home for sale on the MLS and call it Capitol Hill, even if some people consider it an “in-between” area.

  8. I’m not loving the name and the decor/clientele might be annoying, not sure until I go.

    But the prospect of good German biers and possibly food within easy walking distance of my house?????

    UH-OH. Bye-bye fitness plan!

  9. Yes, I think a good German bier can take my mind off anything I find objectionable about the decor/clientele/etc! Excited to have it close by. It’s funny/sad how we get in our own little ultra-local neighborhoods on the Hill; Pine Box seems SO FAR sometimes….

  10. I’m crossing my fingers for some wiener schnitzel (veal, not chicken) and just spatzle– without the goopy kase… (why does every friggen food in restaurants these days have to be overladen with cheese anymore)? Anyway, I’ll give it a try at least. Hopefully the Austrian food will be a little more authentic than the Poquito’s Disney-esque version of Mexican.

  11. Well-said, Joe. It seems that Capitol Hill hipsters are almost required to make nasty comments about a new place like this, even though they’ve not been there. Eastsiders are people, too….at least most of them. There are a-holes everywhere, even on “the Hill.”

  12. Hey, Bocce is actually fun with the right group. Although it may be better outside.

    What do you want? another dive bar? Another bar just filled with tables? Nobody trying “too hard” to have any fun?

    I think it’s an interestingly themed place. I’ll definitely visit sometime in the next couple months to see how it is. I’ll give it a chance, and I think you should too. You might actually have fun.

  13. Poquitos is way better and more authentic than 90% of other mexican on and off the hill. I grew up in the Bay Area and there is no such thing as authentic in the united states, you learn to not give a fuck.

  14. I am German and live in Seattle since 2001. Here is how rate what I saw & ate at this place.
    Even that I specifically asked for a tall glass for the Weissbier it was served in a mug. The pretzel we ordered was not a pretzel – it was a ring without the crossing inside. The quality was really bad – it tasted like being from 3 days ago, the bottom was also black & burned. The other food was “so la la” – I was not really impressed by it. The atmosphere was ok, but the place is extremely loud (and I am used to loud environments in places like that), but this one is over the top for me. You hardly could read the menu, because it was too dark. The selection on the menu is fair.
    I don’t think that I will go there again.
    Anyway – enjoy and don’t forget your earplugs!