The coat of arms above the door to Von Trapp's Restaurant features two rearing horned stags along with the motto Brats Biergarten Bocce.
Bocce? The Italian version of "boules" in a German beer garden? Why not, this in Seattle.
Located on 12th Avenue in Seattle's uber-trendy Capitol Hill nabe, Von Trapp's is a palatial beer hall cum frat house, perfectly situated right across the street from the city's Jesuit haven, Seattle University. What was once a candy factory is now the sort of playground where Willy Wonka might meet Harry Potter for "wieners und balls," which is what the waitstaff wear on their t-shirts.
Created by the same interior design team that has transported Seattle diners to Scotland, Mexico, and Paris without ever leaving their hometown, Von Trapp's is a fervid trip to a Bavarian schloss, complete with majestic fireplaces, oriental carpets, a stately staircase, and several crystal chandeliers from which you almost expect to see a German couple swinging and singing, steins in hand. Oh, and also, there's bocce: five full courts.
As for the food - and yes, there is food, and very good food at that, to complement the raucous good fun - there's the requisite beef goulash and pork wiener schnitzel, as well as Berlin's acclaimed currywurst and Polish kielbasa - but there's also a falafel dog and Von Trapp's 'Seattle' brat, a twist on the Seattle classic with obatzda (a lethal Bavarian cheese and butter combo) and caramelized onions.
At Von Trapp's, all of the "wurst" and breads are made in-house daily, from scratch, and everything tastes fresh and homemade, as if your German grandmother and her sisters were happily cooking and singing beer songs in the kitchen.
The German variant of pizza, the crispy flatbread "flammkuchen," comes in a variety of toppings (including basil-pumpkin seed pesto), although the classic with smoked bacon, onions, and sour cream is certain to evoke memories of your first love affair with the gemütlichkeit qualities of German cuisine.
Afternoons at Von Trapp's are less lively than the evenings, but after a few more steins of the 29 (at last count) different German and Austrian brews offered on tap, it's possible that you'll find yourself on the bocce court, ready to roll a few boules with your wieners.