As written for iluvlocalplaces.com 12/14
Everything you see when you enter Rob Foeste’s Broadway Biergarten is by design. The beautiful tables are imported from Germany. They were specifically created with a short width to ensure you stay engaged in conversation with your companions. You will also find imported glassware doting the counters. The glassware is well made with a thick and heavy feel. The kind that clinks joyfully when you toast to good times. Rob says, “You wouldn’t put a nice filet mignon on a paper plate. Why would you put a beer that took six months to get here in the wrong glass?”
It is all about the experience and customer enjoyment for Rob. The specific combination of those elements is what he hopes to share with patrons. When asked if he thinks that not serving liquor could be detrimental to his business he says, “No. We want to hit a certain taste bud for Cape Girardeau and give them the best possible beer experience here in Cape. We do that by focusing on what we are good at”.
Rob comes from a long line of entrepreneurs that have called Cape Girardeau home for their small businesses. He has lived in the center of Cape his whole life. He remarks that he had been waiting for this opportunity, so when it came his way he made it happen. Rob says he loves the interaction with the people. He says, “When you don’t get that face time with individuals you feel like you miss out”.
Rob feels that part of his recipe for success with his business is the fact that he is a long time local. He says of his business, “It’s got to have someone from here, it’s got to have the heart and soul.” For Rob, his work is an extension of his personality. After all, he has been cultivating his passion for beer for over a decade now. He laughs a little and says, “I live, breathe, eat and sleep it. I love sharing it with the community.”
The Biergarten’s claim to fame is the philosophy of 50% beer education and 50% beer exploration. So of course I had to test him! But first I wanted to learn a little bit about the food and get an idea of what people may not know about the Biergarten. Rob jokes that his Cape Famous wings are “craft wings.” He says that they are a big seller in addition to ever-popular made from scratch German pretzels.
When it comes to the beer selection, Rob says to keep an open mind. You will not be able to pull up your chair to the standard old light beer. This place is full of imports! There is a range of 28-36 on tap, a ton more in bottle and the most extensive selection of ciders in Cape. There truly is something for every taste – even for the ladies, I might add! It is a matter of finding what type of taste you like explains Rob. He says, “Don’t be intimidated by the choices. Whether you are looking for sweet, sour, bitter… it doesn’t matter. We can help you find things you may not think you like, but then find you actually do!”
So to test Rob’s theory, I showed him the first of the two surprise items I brought. I asked him to pair dark (90% cocoa) chocolate with a complimentary beer. Within seconds I had a delightful Belgium Raspberry Lambic sitting in front of me. The sweetness of the raspberry cut the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly. Before I could utter another word, there was a second sample sitting in front of me. It was a Coffee Stout. Chocolate and coffee mixed with beer. There are no words. He laughed and said that test was too easy.
So, thinking I was really going to throw him off his game, I pulled out a fruitcake! I’m talking about the mother of all fruitcakes in its heavy, spiced-up, gummy glory. By the time we stopped laughing there was a sample of a Sweet Winter Warmer in front of me. Yep, it did not even phase him. He said that something like a fruitcake with its “crazy nutty, spicy notes” can be paired with something similar like a Belgium Dubbel Ale or the Winter Warmer which is a little more bitter. The fruitcake tasted terrific with the Winter Warmer. It truly brought the spices and the fruit and nut combo to life. It was so good in fact that I might look forward to next year’s obligatory Christmas treat! Well done, sir. Well done.
Just the Facts:
Location: Broadway Biergarten is located at 818 Broadway St in downtown Cape Girardeau.
Hours: Open 7 days a week starting at 4p Mon – Fri and 12p Sat-Sun
The hours are designed to be accommodating to patrons. Rob remarks that he is open at times that make it easy for “our friends in the industry to get a good beer.”
Architecture: The building was commissioned in 1928 by German immigrant John Jaeger. Since that time it has been a hardware store, a distributor, a candy and ice cream shop and a cafe to name a few. (www.cityofcape.org, walking tour). The building still features the original tin ceiling and a curious coat of arms.