Regulars Make Restaurant/Beergarten Their ‘Getaway’ Spot
Cancel your flight. Germany is only one stretch of road away.
Royal Bavaria was established in 1994 by Jörg Kühne, a German from Munich who married an Oklahoman. As the story goes, the remote location was chosen from a bird’s-eye view. Kühne flew a small plane over the countryside and pointed at the spot, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
When asked if there are any identifiable locations near the restaurant, current owner Andy Gmeiner said, “We are actually a landmark.”
Gmeiner has honored Kühne’s original idea since he took over in 2008. His concept of a German getaway has stuck, becoming a cherished feature of central Oklahoma. All of the beer served is brewed in-house and each style honors the 500-year-old Reinheitsgebot Purity Law from Ingolstadt, Bavaria, which decries that only water, barley, hops and yeast may be used in the brewing process.
Customers have the option of ordering their beer by half-liter, liter in a stein or a boot up to three liters full. You can also buy kegs of Royal Bavaria brewed beer.
Unlike with wine, there is no pairing rule when it comes to German beer and cuisine, though there are favorites. Gmeiner’s lager of choice is the Munich Dunkel, which is full-bodied yet surprisingly smooth, leaving room for a big meal—and Bavarians do love big meals! I was referred the Rinderroulade mit Kartoffelbrei und Blaukraut (sound it out, we dare you), which is a perfect spread for the chilly coming months. Angus beef, bacon, onions, mashed potatoes—a hardy meal, some hearty laughter, and a soothing beer makes for a warm winter’s night.
Royal Bavaria also prides itself on the fresh quality of their food. All beer aside, everything is made in-house. They cut their own meat and produce their own gravy, pasta, and specialty sausages.
Considering the décor of Royal Bavaria, there is a very real feeling of traversing continents. The wait staff dons traditional attire and the building itself is styled with German farmhouse architecture. Steins and Bavarian treasures mount the walls, each carrying its own secret history. Customers have gifted this restaurant with many items that add to the ambience, and most of the decorative features have been brought back from Germany since the restaurant’s genesis in 1994.
I asked Gmeiner how long a certain fedora hat had been hanging on the antler of a mounted deer head.
“Oh, like 20 years,” Gmeiner said. He then motioned to our waiter. “And he used to be so little he would sit in my lap.”
Two of Royal Bavaria’s most interesting regulars are Toby Keith, who is a local, and a 105-year-old woman who has been coming every year on her birthday for 15 years—and she lives in Kansas.
A walk outside to the Beergarten made it very clear why Royal Bavaria has a good reputation for large events. The patio seats about 170 guests and is covered with evening lights on the ground and in the trees surrounding gazebo, where I picture many couples saying their vows and live bands entertaining many crowds.
And indeed there are live bands, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Beergarten, playing a plethora of genres.
Royal Bavaria is your destination. It is where you go to sit for hours and laugh more wholly than you do at your dinner table. It is your vacation spot, just around the bend.
Cheers, or as they say in Bavaria, prosit!
Royal Bavaria is located in Moore at 3401 S. Sooner Road. From Norman, it is located one mile north of Indian Hills Road. From Oklahoma City, it is located 6.5 miles south of I-240.
Royal Bavaria Hours:
Monday–Saturday 5–9:30 p.m.
Sunday 5-8:30 p.m.