Nothing stays the same forever. That saying is trite and cliché and absolutely true. The Outer Banks, with its constantly shifting sands, is a living embodiment of that expression. The same is true of the businesses that are passionate and crazy enough to call it home.
It was over 30 years ago when the Weeping Radish first opened its doors. German oompah music, waitresses in dirndls, and micro-brewed beer were not what most people were expecting to find on the Outer Banks.
The Bavarian kitsch might have raised a few eyebrows, but making your own beer dropped jaws. Please remember that this was the mid eighties when beer choices were limited to regular or lite, can or bottle, Budweiser or Miller. Uli Bennewitz was giving two to three tours a day, explaining to hundreds of customers how beer was made and why fresh local beer not only tasted better, but also was better for the community as a whole. Some of that must have rubbed off because today there are over 190 breweries in North Carolina alone and a microbrewery is now the first suggestion for revitalizing a neighborhood. In an era of burgeoning polarized and isolating digital communities, brewpubs provide a real world alternative that is as diverse as it is delicious.
Microbreweries have rocketed past regular or lite to create beers made with fruits, vegetables, chocolate, herbs, and other rather questionable ingredients. At the Weeping Radish we are firm believers in the drinkability of beer. When we began brewing, Uli wanted every member of the family, of legal drinking age, naturally, to be able to enjoy a beer with their meal. So while we may brew a seasonal variety that’s a bit more adventurous, or year round beers are smooth versions of classic styles. In the case of the Black Radish we are the definition of a classic; the American Beer Judging Guide listed it as a standard for Schwartz beers.
You’ll still find German Lagers on our beer list, but we shed most of our Bavarian trappings when we closed our Manteo restaurant in 2007 and opened our restaurant in Currituck County. That’s right, it’s been ten years since we closed the Weeping Radish in Manteo. But polka fans don’t need to cry into their beers just yet. We brought another German craft with us to Grandy: Butchering. We source whole animals from local farms and as a result our meat counter isn’t what you’d expect. An animal only yields a very small amount of steak or pork chop or other popular cuts of meat. After that you are left with hundreds of pounds of hamburger meat. This breakdown is disastrous when you’re working with a few animals at a time. Thankfully we have some very big tools that allow us to change that. Now the prime cuts are served in our restaurant while the rest is transformed into bacon, pastrami, sweet potato liverwurst, and sausage. Trained by German Master Butchers, our sausages are the best of the wurst. (That pun never gets old!) Our retail counter is full of a variety of sausages from bratwurst to linguica with enough in between to satisfy the most particular palate. Like the brewery, we enjoy bringing out seasonal varieties; our cranberry, apple and pecan sausage was such a hit we make it year round! Last A the moment we have a Mediterranean style sausage and an English Banger available, but we are always looking for new ideas. Leave your suggestions in the comments and they’ll be compiled for Voice readers to vote on. We’ll make a batch of the winning recipe and serve it in our restaurant and package it for sale. And who knows, maybe some of the other suggestions will turn up later in the year!