Exclusive: Descendant of Germany’s Oktoberfest founder opening beer garden in East Austin
A group of Austin hospitality and entertainment veterans have partnered with a German friend who will bring generations of knowledge to a new biergarten in East Austin.
C3 Presents co-founder Charles Attal (Austin City Limits Music Festival and more), chef Tim Love (Lonesome Dove) and Jesse Herman (co-founder of La Condesa and Sway) plan to open Koko’s Bavarian at 4715 E. Fifth St. in the former Brewer’s Table space in November. The partners are joined in the venture by Herman’s longtime friend, Konstantin Prinz von Bayern, whose family started what became known as the modern Oktoberfest in Germany.
Herman, who in 2019 helped reboot El Patio with Attal and has several more restaurants in development with the concert impresario, says the biergarten in the developing industrial area of East Austin will take its cues from urban beer halls like Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn and Frankford Hall in Philadelphia, as well as Prater Garten in Berlin. Koko’s will blend culinary and aesthetic details of Central Texas and Bavaria and present them in a casual atmosphere reminiscent of the biergartens in Germany.
“The ambition is to be a fun place, which is different than thinking about opening a very ambitious restaurant,” Herman said about rolling out a new concept near what many hope is the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think as you’ve seen shifts in consumer behavior in what people are looking for, it’s hard not to go wrong with casual, fun places on the east side.”
The menu, developed by Love, will showcase six-to-eight sausages made in house, along with Belgian fries and dishes like rotisserie chicken and pork shoulder that are often found at the smaller Oktoberfest parties that take place away from the crowds teeming with tourists.
The beer offerings at the restaurant, which will seat more than 250 in its expansive outdoor space, will include about 20 draft beers, with Koko’s brewing about a half dozen of its own Bavarian-style beers, primarily lagers at first.
Von Bayern is a descendant of King Ludwig I, whose marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810 gave birth to the modern Munich Oktoberfest. The Starnberg native says that traditional beer halls in Germany are cozy, familiar and considered an extension of one’s home, and believes the concept should fit nicely in Austin.
“I think Austin resonates that welcoming vibe, too. Just like a beer hall in Bavaria, all are welcome in Austin,” Von Bayern said. “The aim of Koko’s Bavarian is to stay true to the roots and culture of Bavaria while retaining the Austin spirit.”