In what was the last Birmingham Lunch Club meeting for one of us, the 4 original bros went to Klinger’s European Bakery in Vestavia. Even though Klinger’s has been operating in the Birmingham area for 30 years, this was the first visit there for all of us.
Greg: I have lived in Birmingham a long, long time and I had never heard of Klingler’s Bakery in Vestavia. I have driven through the area many times, but never noticed this establishment. The menu looked good and I was excited to check it out. The inside of the restaurant is kinda like what your grandma’s cluttered kitchen and/or craft room may look like. But instead of the smell of mothballs, sub in sweet scents. Cookies, cakes, and other treats were held behind the glass display case. Seating was limited inside, so we decided to enjoy a freaky cool August day and sit outside (Blake signed off on it). We had the outside seating area to ourselves and ordered. Our waitress was very friendly and provided excellent service. I ordered the pecan chicken salad sandwich with a side of German Potato Salad.
The food arrived in a little under 10 minutes. In my quest to find the best chicken salad in Birmingham, we may have a new clubhouse leader (behind the world famous Feed and Seed, which may or may not still be in business, help from a reader would be appreciated on this one). Served on delicious wheat bread, the consistency and texture of this chicken salad was perfect. The seasoning was bold yet not overpowering. Just enough of a kick for you to remember it. The pecans offered the perfect complement to the other ingredients. Needless to say, I was blown away. I don’t care for regular potato salad too much, but my grandma makes German potato salad and I enjoy it. This version would make grandma proud. Just the right amount of vinegar and seasoning with the onions made this an excellent side. Normally, I don’t do dessert at BLC stops. However, I spied the German Chocolate Cake when we explored the inside and it looked great. It was fantastic. Served cold, the cake was fresh and used fresh coconut and other ingredients. After all that food, I really needed a nap. Great service, great food, and if you take out the cake I would have gotten out around $11. Try this place. Soon. Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Bros
Blake: I wrote off Brad’s choice this week as “dainty ol’ Brad doing dainty stuff.”
Boy, was I wrong. I’ve never been wronger. Think about the wrongest you’ve ever been and multiply that by 100 and that’s half as wrong as I was. Then, I DID realize I was wrong after taking time to view the menu online before visiting. Come on, bros. The name of the place had “bakery” in it. How was I going to leave satisfied?
At the end of this meal, I sprang for a $6 slice of German chocolate cake, which really isn’t German at all (it’s named for a guy with the last name German. He’s American. Fun Fact). So in fairness to other BLC stops, the final bill was a little pricey, but it was voluntarily so because I could have easily left with a full stomach at $12 or so. I also tipped pretty generously because the service was through the roof. Tops. The best.
Sometimes you get a perfect storm, and that is what we had on this day. It was very pleasant outside in August. Parking was a breeze. We had great conversation. I had the bratwurst sandwich with a side of hot German potato salad. Absolutely off the charts. I long thought about the meatloaf sandwich, and that’s where I’m going on the next trip. But bro, this sandwich? This potato salad? Wow. The server was spectacular. Both of them. And it was a very busy lunch crowd, but we had our food in ten minutes and both ladies that served us took time to talk, kept our drinks filled. We were there almost 90 minutes, and it felt like 20. I think Greg said this is the 35th stop of the BLC Tour, and I knew upon my first bite it was in my personal top six. Klingler’s Bakery is worth the drive. From anywhere. We’re all very fortunate that this palace of deliciousness is on 31 in Vestavia and not 280 in Brook Highland. Go. Go often. Thank me. If I could give this place more than 5 bros, I’d give it more than 5 bros. Like, if I were just making up bros, I’d give it a million bros. But alas, that’s not playing by the rules. Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 bros
Brad: A native Michigander, I try and return to spend time with my grandmother whenever I can. In 2009, while making my visit, we ventured to the town of Frankenmuth – a slice of old Germany in the middle of America. While on that trip, I enjoyed some of the most delicious food I have eaten while traveling. This was the inspiration for my choice this week – Klingler’s Bakery in Vestavia.Parking was a cinch. Though it appeared to be a busy lunch, I was able to find a quick spot in this strip across from City Center. My struggle was “what to choose?” I settled on the knackwurst plate earlier in the week (I was prepared), only to call an audible at last second. I chose the Schnitzel Sandwich. Schnitzel is one of those words most people hear and want to vomit – perhaps because they are not familiar. Please, become familiar. While no German food connoisseur, lightly breaded veal with lettuce, tomato and special sauce on a pretzel roll sounded like it would hit the spot. It did. The warm German potato salad was new to me and a welcome complement. I topped off my visit with one of the “100 Alabama Dishes to Eat Before You Die” – a slice of Black Forest Torte. It was a perfect combination of chocolate, cream and cherries. Amazing. Though the bill with tip neared $20, it was worth every penny. Additionally, while paying, I asked if Klingler’s served beer. “September 1st we will begin when we open nights.” I will see you then, Klingler’s.
I thouroughly enjoyed my experience in Frankenmuth, MI. The food and beer there was something I have always remembered. Klingler’s brought those same flavors and memories rushing back. Drive to Vestavia and enjoy a slice of the Deutschland here in the Steel City. I can truly say I was proud to have selected such a satisfying spot. Overall Rating 5 out of 5 bros.
Joey: Thanks for reading, everyone! It’s been fun. Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Bros
NEW HIGH SCORE: 4.75 out of 5 Bros
(See the full ScoreSheet.)