Restaurants are often a destination when looking for an excuse to ride. Chris suggested the Heidelberg Haus, a German cafe, grocery, bakery and gift shop in Indianapolis. It’s a perfect place for a kaffeeklatsch, but on this sommer day, we’d take the old BMW motorcycles on a thematic ride to try their knockwurst and homemade potato salad. How was it? Read on…
The Heidelberg Haus has been owned and operated by Gabi and Juergen Jungbauer since it opened as a bakery and coffee bar in 1968. Juergen was an award-winning pastry chef for the U.S. Army at the Fort Benjamin Harrison officers’ club when he decided to break away and offer his fine German pastries just off Pendleton Pike and Hwy 465. He’s still going strong today with even more to offer; from gnomes to nesting dolls, bratwurst to bundt cakes and beer steins to springerle.
The bikes we rode were Chris’ 1966 BMW R60/2, Casey’s 1976 BMW R75/6 Cafe Racer and his other black Beemer, a stock 1972 R75/5. The Bavarian trio of airheads, which usually stand out in modern urban settings, weren’t as anachronistic outside the old, quaint roadside cafe.
Quick advice/suggestions: If you go, go hungry. If you try the quality meats don’t skip the flavorful potato salad! Leave some time to peruse the grocery section (need pickled pumpkin in a jar?). Allow even more time to wind in and around the countless shelves of German knickknackery and various European candies. If you’re on a bike, prepare a protected pocket of space to store your to-go pastries (the big selection of treats behind the glass will tempt you).
Since 1969, the food menu remains the same. Their pastries, butter cream tortes, whipped-cream cakes and danishes are made daily. They also serve fresh ground 100% Colombian coffee.
You can’t ride in and NOT get a pic in front of the picturesque murals. Once we snapped a few pics on the West side of the building, we moved the bikes to the front (didn’t want to block the handicap parking places). After the original murals had succumbed to years of weather, the new iterations of detailed German landscapes were painted in 2010 by artist Debbie Knapp.
Their aren’t a lot of tables n’ chairs and they’re dispersed throughout the store, but it’s not intended to be a full-blown restaurant. If all tables are claimed, you’re encouraged to grab an empty chair with a fellow patron if it’s available. We didn’t have any trouble finding a table for three; walked right in and sat down next to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor gnomes.
If you go on a Saturday, expect the wait staff (who might just be a member of the Jungbauer family) to be wearing traditional attire. Our dirndl-clad waitress, Angi, was great. She gave us a quick, confident rundown of the menu and made us feel very willkommen.
Riding in on a small fleet of vintage flat-twin BMW motorcycles made our experience fun, but no matter what you arrive on/in, we’re bettin’ you’ll enjoy your visit here. A tasty selection of sausage awaits (try the spicy mustard!) and the assortment of gift-shop goodies will add some entertainment to your Heidelberg experience. If you can appreciate the character and history of an old bike, you’ll definitely appreciate how this unique establishment has successfully remained true to its heritage.