NORMAN — As executive chef and owner, Andy Gmeiner is the mastermind behind a completely unique restaurant — Royal Bavarian, 3401 S Sooner Road.
He exhibit’s a philosophy through his restaurant which few establishments have throughout the country.
Andy Gmeiner is a Munich, Germany, native. After culinary school in Germany, Gmeiner was hired to move to Oklahoma to be the chef of Royal Bavaria. The restaurant open in January 1994 under Gmeiner’s vision. He left to take on other jobs, but in 2005, he returned to the restaurant and bought it in January 2008.
Gmeiner said at Royal Bavaria, everyone takes pride in making everything from scratch, whether it is salad dressings, homemade pastas, or the beer brewed in house.
Gmeiner brews three beers in the restaurant’s own brewery which is visible from every table in the dining room. There is a traditional Munich lager, a classic Hefeweizen, and the always popular Oktoberfest.
Royal Bavaria follows the German Purity Law when brewing. Gmeiner said this is the oldest food law in the world and sets regulations and guidelines on what ingredients and processes can be used when brewing beer.
Gmeiner uses only four ingredients: whole grain malts, German yeast, Hallertauer hops, and untreated water from the restaurant’s own well.
The restaurant strives to submerse people into another culture, he said.
“If you would walk into a Bavarian restaurant in Munich, you could find the same here,” Gmeiner said.
He changes the menu regularly to match the Bavarian cuisine in Germany.
“I keep close contact with colleagues in Germany," Gmeiner said. "We change our menu consistently and update it as food changes in Germany.”The restaurant only uses the best available products. Nearly all of the produce is completely organic, and preparers use fresh meats free of injected chemicals.
“If I don’t want to eat it, I won’t serve it,” said Gmeiner. “You will only have a good end result if you start with a good product.”
He explained when coming up with menu items, the dish has to be made with the same quality every single time. If the dish doesn’t have the same quality and taste at the start of the shift and at the end of the shift, then the dish is not served.
Royal Bavaria sits in the middle of open fields on Sooner Road. It defines a true destination restaurant and Gmeiner had that intention when opening the restaurant. He said the average customer spends two hours at the restaurant and it is not uncommon for people to stay up to four hours.
“People come to have a good time,” said Gmeiner. “Many restaurants are focused on turning tables and getting as many people through the doors as possible. Here, we want people to come and stay and have a great time.”
The restaurant has no TVs. The food comes out quickly and timely. Yet customers love to stay and chat.
Customers enjoy the beergarten as well, he said. The beergarten is the equivalent of a patio section.
To the side of the restaurant, tables are set up among a landscape of trees, boulders, hanging lights and a stage where bands play often and regularly.
“There is no cover charge for our beergarten,” Gmeiner said. “Anyone can come, relax outside, and enjoy the music and company. They don’t need to buy food or drinks.”
The restaurant serves traditional German Bavarian cuisine, with prices ranging from $14 to $22 with classics such as wiener schnitzel and less known rinderroulade.
5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday
4 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday
4 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday