By Katie TerBeest —
Stolpa’s Stein Haus, La Crosse’s only German pub and grill (as well as the self-proclaimed “downtown fest grounds” for Oktoberfest), boasts a menu with over 20 different types of brats and a wide variety of craft beers on tap. Chef Casey Davis, who has been working at Stein Haus for three years now, takes pride in the quality of cuisine and customer service offered to each guest. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously here, but what we do take seriously is good service and good product.”
The list of unique brats, including a sweet and savory Applewurst brat, a spicy horseradish brat, and a signature Rodeo southwest brat with bacon, onions, jalapenos, cheddar, barbecue and Carolina Reaper sauce, are actually hand-delivered by a family member who drives up to Cumberland, Wisconsin, to pick up the meats from Louie’s Finer Meats. Many of the other ingredients used in the kitchen at Stein Haus are made from local ingredients.
In addition to the wide selection of brats, burger and sandwich options, including the famous pork shanks, Stein Haus offers a breakfast menu from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, including selections like the “Breakfast Spaetzle,” which consists of German dumplings grilled to perfection and mixed with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers and onions, all topped with shredded cheese. There are daily food specials that run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and happy hour from 5 to 9 p.m. All food is made to order.
Davis enjoys the creative freedom he’s allowed when creating the Stein Haus signature soups, and he finds entertainment in the humorous titles the soups are given by the bar owner, Chris Stolpa, and the other staff members at Stein. “It’s usually making fun of someone who works here,” Davis laughs, adding that the laidback attitude of the staff helps make everyone who visits feel welcome and a part of the Stein Haus family.
Stop down at Stolpa’s Stein Haus this fest season (and year-round) to enjoy the hearty soups, unique brats and easygoing atmosphere. The outdoor bier garten offers seasonal entertainment and a place to enjoy a craft beer during the crisp fall weather in the Coulee Region. Ein prosit!
Creamy Cubano Soup
This is a soup version of the popular Cubano sandwich, usually made with mustard, ham, shredded pork, dill pickles and swiss cheese, served on Panini bread, and often pressed on a Panini grill. At Stein Haus, the Creamy Cubano Soup is served with two baguette slices topped with a pickle mustard relish that adds to the soup’s mustard flavor without overtaking the other ingredients.
- 2 tbsps. butter
- 1 tbsp. mustard powder
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch (to thicken)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
- 1 ½ cups fully cooked diced ham
- 1 cup fully cooked citrus pork
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mustard powder and cornstarch, whisking well to combine. Add the stock and heavy cream, bringing to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and add the Swiss cheese, whisking until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the ham and continue cooking until the ham is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a spoonful of cooked citrus pork. Serve immediately, and refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves 4 generously.