Anyone looking for Volga German cuisine for a quick meal or take home have a new place to go, at least through the holidays. Das Essen Hutte — The Eatin’ Shack — is open at Big Creek Crossing.
For owners Roxane and Charlie Dorzweiler, it’s a chance to bring their cooking to a bit more permanent home, something they’ve been thinking about doing for awhile.
The couple has been providing Volga German dishes and cookies at Oktoberfest for various groups for more than 30 years and earlier this year purchased a concession trailer they’ve taken to events like Victoria’s Herzogfest and the county fair.
“For winter, we thought we’d kick this idea around for a little bit,” Charlie said.
Roxane is at the store throughout the week while Charlie is there when he’s not working with Ellis County EMS. They also farm near Catharine.
The couple had planned on setting up a kiosk in the mall’s hallway along with other holiday vendors, but required more electricity than could be provided there, they said.
Big Creek Crossing Property Manager Katie Dorzweiler — who happens to be their daughter-in-law — suggested they lease an available space near the southwest entrance that used to house a bank.
They had to put a little work into the space — primarily removing carpet and putting down tile in the kitchen area and adding a sink — but it allows for a display case and several tables for dining.
“We didn’t want to get too deep in it because we don’t know if we’re going to be here long or not. So we didn’t want to do too much,” Roxane said of the renovations.
They will be in the space through January, she said, and depending on how business goes will consider extending their stay.
Menu offerings include traditional Volga German fare such as bierocks sold individually or by the dozen, and green bean dumpling soup, chicken and noodles and noodles and beans by the bowl or the quart. They also have heart cookies, spitzbuben and kuchen, along with bratwurst, reuben sandwiches, nachos, streusel and cinnamon rolls.
The items are “old family recipes that we just made up,” Charlie said with a laugh.
“I make the brats, she does the bierocks,” he said. “I do a lot of the green bean dumpling soup.”
Roxane makes the dough for the bierocks from scratch, and they make their own noodles as well.
While they plan to add items to the menu, one they haven’t offered yet is a dish that proved popular at Oktoberfest this year, fried dumplings.
“It’s sliced brats that are already cooked and dumplings, taters and onions. We just put ’em on a flat grill and started frying it at Oktoberfest and people went crazy,” Charlie said.
“They’ve already asked us here if we had them. We just don’t have the equipment to do it,” Roxane said.
“We just might make that a special a certain day of the week maybe,” Charlie said.