A roasted Bavarian pork shank was added to the menu at Schmidt's this year, the first new item offered at the German Village institution in 25 years. The impressive cuts of meat are served with mashed potatoes and gravy, sauerkraut and a warm roll, priced at $19.95. We got the inside story from owner Geoff Schmidt.

A roasted Bavarian pork shank was added to the menu at Schmidt’s this year, the first new item offered at the German Village institution in 25 years. The impressive cuts of meat are served with mashed potatoes and gravy, sauerkraut and a warm roll, priced at $19.95. We got the inside story from owner Geoff Schmidt.

Why add a pork shank to the repertoire?

I went to Germany for a riverboat cruise, and my wife and I ate at this great restaurant in Regensburg. We ordered a pork shank there, and it was very good. I talked to the chefs to find out how they did it—what kind of seasonings, how they cooked it.

It’s a real, authentic German dish, and I thought it’d be pretty neat for our restaurant. We try to keep all our dishes as authentic as possible.

Two decades is a long time with no menu changes. What’s your reasoning?

It’s all about consistency, consistency, consistency. We don’t have chefs, we have short-order cooks. So we know we have a good product when we can deliver a consistent plate of food.

How are customers responding?

They love it! It’s not on the actual menu, because we only print new menus about every three years. But we’re advertising it on table tents, and we’re having a lot of fun with it.

The big thing about selling anything is you look at the guy next to you and say “what is he eating?” So we make it mandatory that our servers have to walk further than where they’re going—through all three dining rooms—when they’re delivering a pork shank.

It’s very eye-catching, with the two big bones, and we do a little Bavarian flag on it.

Photo: Fred Squillante