Otto's Brauhaus
Enjoy summer dining and entertainment in their beer garden
by Sharon A. Shaw

It’s been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Though many things have changed at Otto’s Brauhaus since it first opened more than 70 years ago, the quality has remained high, securing its position as a favorite neighborhood spot among locals and a unique fine dining destination for travelers throughout the region.

Otto’s Brauhaus in Horsham has always been known for its traditional German specialties, but chef and owner George Iliopoulos is expanding Otto’s fine reputation with flavorful additions to the menu and with fun events for diners.

Chef Illiopoulos has more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He was trained at both New York University and The French Culinary Institute in New York. He joined fellow restaurateur Chris Balis to offer superb quality to every guest at Otto’s Brauhaus.

With the warmer weather comes the opening of Otto’s beer garden, a beautiful partially covered outdoor space. Dine among colorful flowers, lush potted plants and a pond complete with waterfalls, goldfish and statues. The space often plays host to special music events and is always a perfect spot for outdoor dining. Chef Iliopoulos has done much of the work himself and admits his love of gardening is second only to his passion for cooking. Every Friday, Otto’s will offer a themed dinner complete with music. On Saturdays, the beer garden will host live bands.

Otto’s Brauhaus welcomes meetings, rehearsal dinners, parties, bridal and baby showers, and offers selections from its banquet menu. An evening of appetizers and beer tastings makes for a fun, casual gathering. Chef Iliopoulos says he is happy to create a menu for themed events.

Otto’s also offers an off-site catering menu featuring breakfast items, snack platters or pans of delicious entrées. Chef Iliopoulos feels that family celebrations are an important tradition, and this spring Otto’s is offering a free meal to 2010 graduates when accompanied by an adult buying a regular dinner entrée.

While special events and picturesque outdoor dining are the highlights of Otto’s Brauhaus, the stellar menu is what continues to bring in the crowds.

“Customers return for the quality of the food,” Chef Illiopoulos says. “I pay attention to the quality.”

Beth Grasso of Horsham says the dedication to quality is obvious. She says Otto’s Brauhaus was the first place she ever tried snapper soup and it remains the best. She also praises the staff and the wide selection on the menu. “People love it here,” she says. “It is a great place.”

The breakfast menu includes Chef Iliopoulos’ creative interpretations of French toast, Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict. Otto’s menu also offers made-to-order crepes with delicious fillings. Signature varieties of the pan-fried omelets include The Captain, filled with lump crab meat and shrimp tossed with Old Bay seasoning then topped with a rich Hollandaise sauce. The extensive breakfast menu also includes wraps, croissant sandwiches and skillets.

Lunch at Otto’s Brauhaus is popular with local business people and travelers. Take-out is available, but many chose to dine in while enjoying one of Otto’s one-of-a-kind salads. “I am very proud of our salads,” Chef Iliopoulos says. “We are the only place to offer some of these selections, and the ingredients are always very fresh.”

He points to the lamb and goat cheese salad as one of the most popular. It features grilled lamb chops, goat cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, artichokes and roasted red peppers on a bed of greens. The lunch menu also includes soups, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, burgers and entrees.

The dinner menu includes similar light offerings along with a wide selection of appetizers, fresh seafood and aged steaks. Chef Iliopoulos is especially proud of his signature crab cakes. Otto’s offers a broad selection of hearty entrees, from German specialties to traditional favorites. Chris Balis, also the head baker, is responsible for the homemade breads and delicious desserts, including a selection of cakes, along with Otto’s specialty, apple strudel.

One can still count on Otto’s Brauhaus to have the finest selection of beers in the area. With 24 varieties on tap, it is also one of the largest. The selection is constantly changing as new specialty beers come into season.

Otto’s Brauhaus still honors its long history by continuing to serve German specialties and family favorites, but Chef Iliopoulos is creating new traditions by adding fresh flavors and exciting events.

Otto’s Brauhaus
233 Easton Road, Horsham

Sharon A. Shaw is a freelance writing living in Doylestown