From schnitzel to spaetzle, the cuisine of Germany is available each month to members of the Springfield Motor Boat Club, a private club on Lake Springfield.
With no German restaurant in Springfield, diners say it's a treat to be able to indulge in dishes prepared by chef Fred Stachowiak, a native of Bavaria.
"We've gone to Europe a lot, and Fred's food is just as good, if not better. He uses quality products. It's wonderful food," says Jeff Engel, president of the Springfield German American Club (DANK). The German American Club has a number of members who also belong to the Motor Boat Club, so they are able to invite their fellow club members to eat there.
A German meal is served the third Wednesday of each month.Featured at a recent dinner was Konigsberger klopse, pork and beef meatballs in a lemon-dill-caper sauce served with boiled potatoes. Rouladen - rolled slices of thin beef, stuffed with bacon and onion - is another specialty. It's accompanied by red cabbage and spaetzle (little dumplings).
Other European delicacies prepared by Stachowiak include sauerbraten, schnitzel, dumplings, fried potatoes, goulash, chicken with mushrooms, sauerkraut, stroganoff and a variety of sausages."The stroganoff is out of this world," says Engel.
Chef Fred, 67, is half of the team that runs the Motor Boat Club. He and his wife, Monica, 66, live at the club and have been co-managers and caretakers for 21 years.
Monica was born in Berlin, but the two German natives met in Milwaukee in the mid-1960s. He was a chef and she was a part-time waitress at the same Italian restaurant.
"I came to America to marry an American, not a German," Monica says with a laugh.
The couple, now married 44 years, moved to Springfield in 1974 when Fred got a job managing Nino's Steak Roundup in the Town & Country shopping center. In 1977, they bought Nino's and operated it until it closed in 1984.
Fred got a job at the former Sheraton Inn, and Monica worked as a cashier and bookkeeper for restaurateur George Baur. In 1990, a Motor Boat Club member, who was a fan of Fred's cooking, asked the pair if they would be interested in running the club.
"We do everything but cut the grass," says Monica, who adds that club members are required to help with maintenance. The club's five acres include the main building, boat dock, beach, playground, horseshoe pits and 78 boat houses where members store their boats.
Matti, a 6-year-old Australian shepherd mix, helps keep the geese away.
"Before she came, it was like a town meeting here," Monica says about the hundreds of geese that used to congregate on the grounds.
Besides the dining room - illuminated by two walls of windows that provide a stunning view of Lake Springfield - the clubhouse has a banquet room for 150, a bar and tented space outside for picnics and barbecues.
Lunch and dinner is served to members and their guests Tuesdays through Sundays.
"I like living at the lake," Monica says about the couple's three-bedroom home at the club. "It's so quiet here. And it's nice not having to drive to work."
Springfield Motor Boat Club
From chef Fred Stachowiak
3-ounce round steak, thinly sliced and pounded
Salt and pepper
½-ounce raw ground beef
1 dill pickle slice
½ slice raw onion
1 carrot stick, cut to the length of the steak
¼ slice raw bacon
Layer the sliced round steak with mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Place the ground beef, pickle slice, onion slice, carrot stick and bacon toward one end of the steak. Roll meat and secure with toothpick. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.When meat is done, remove from pan and set aside. To the drippings, add yellow mustard and dill pickle juice, to taste. Thicken with a flour-and-water mixture to desired consistency.
Makes 1 serving.
Story published Friday, July 1, 2011 ( Volume 6, Number 4 )