If you’re craving authentic German cuisine, Stepping into German Guys will feel like taking a flight across the Atlantic without the time delay or the stress. Started by Ady and Kate Cogiel, the husband-wife team that co-owns the restaurant, this German eatery features nothing but true German cooking using authentic cooking methods and ingredients, prepared by a mother-son team of chefs native to Germany.
The secret is in the heritage. Ady and Kate moved to Stockton in 2019 to fulfill their American dream in the Sunshine State. By August, they had opened German Guys, a testament to traditional German cooking, with influences from neighboring countries such as Poland and Hungary. “We have no American food,” Ady says. “All is German.”
Ady splits cooking shifts with his mother—German Guy’s other master chef—who taught him how to cook while owning a restaurant in Germany for 20 years. From 9 AM-3 PM, Ady’s mother is behind the stove, and Ady takes over from 3-9 PM. “I make the dinners. My mom, she makes the lunch,” he says.
From open to close, the kitchen turns out time-honored dishes such as schnitzel (a thin slice of meat fried in fat), potato pancakes, sausages, salad, and spaetzle, all homemade food made fresh to order. Ady says his personal recommendation is the Red Pepper Schnitzel, a chicken schnitzel made with red bell pepper sauce and served with Mom’s Potato Salad and beets. “That is my favorite,” he says. “It’s what I love.” Kate’s go-to order is the Curry Meatballs, two meatballs slathered with tomato sauce, curry powder, and fresh tomatoes and served with potato pancakes and bigos (sauerkraut, bacon, and tomatoes). All of the schnitzel is either fresh tenderized pork loin or chicken, seasoned, breaded, and pan-fried to order (10-12 ounces each).
If you’re not familiar with German cuisine, you may need to ask questions. A lot of the dishes are fairly straightforward, including the sausages and meatballs, but some of the names like spaetzle and bigos may require a little explanation. Luckily, meals are set up to help guests try a smorgasbord of foods—in most cases your main dish comes with both your choice of side—think potato pancakes, fries, spaetzle, potato salad, and tuna noodle salad—and a salad.
The salads here are also traditionally German. There are six to choose from and while a green salad is a staple across cuisines, options such as hot sauerkraut with mushrooms and bigos (a meat and cabbage stew) have stronger roots in Germany and will likely be new to the American palate.
The food isn’t the only representation of Ady and Kate’s hometown at German Guys. The entire space is designed to replicate a German restaurant. Back home, taking your family to a biergarten for the day is a normal affair, especially on the weekend. And at German Guys, San Joaquinian families can reproduce that comfortable, long afternoon stateside. Ady says this means no rush, no stress. It’s all about hanging out, having a couple of beers, letting the kids play, and snacking on delicious comfort food while listening to German tunes outdoors.
The outdoor beer garden, outfitted with picnic tables that encourage gathering, is a particularly popular place to grab a bite right now, but under normal circumstances, the indoor dining space is also bustling with the same nod to German culture. “It feels like home,” Ady says.
Ady recommends pairing your meal with a beer from back home. The restaurant carries 15 bottled beers—they plan to add taps in 2021—all German. There are also non-alcoholic options such as soda, coffee, and tea. For dessert, try the German Strudel, a layered pastry with sweet filling.
10438 Highway 88, Stockton