Popovers from the Heidelberg Dining Lounge in Richfield

603

Location:
Richfield, Minnesota

Status:
Permanently closed

Dates active:
1954-1974

Heidelberg Dining Lounge opened on the corner of 66th and Lyndale Avenue S in November 1954. Owner Matthew “Bud” Rush was a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, having operated Bud’s Snack Shop with his wife Florence from the mid-1930s until 1953. Bud’s was a casual eatery and popular hangout for teenagers located on 48th and Chicago in Minneapolis. 

By the mid-1950s, Bud and Florence were looking for a new opportunity. They envisioned a restaurant with more space, a sophisticated menu, and a high-quality dining experience. They chose a convenient location in Richfield that was close enough to draw people from Minneapolis and offered enough space for the restaurant and a large parking lot.  

The restaurant’s exterior was unassuming and decidedly American —  a low, one-level building with a beveled corner. The simple sign on the corner of the restaurant read Heidelberg in old-world lettering. The interior, however, transported guests to southwest Germany. 

Metal chandeliers cast a romantic glow around the dining room, and murals painted behind faux windows added to the illusion of dining on the Neckar River. The plush carpeting, sturdy oak tables with captain’s chairs, wood paneling, and a long, bulky bar completed the look. Soft, enjoyable organ music that played during dinner heightened the charming German atmosphere.

The menu featured several German favorites alongside American fine-dining staples like steaks and seafood. Heidelberg specialties included wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, knackwurst, German potato pancakes, and Bavarian bratwurst. Each of the traditional German dinners started with a salad, soup, hot German potato salad, relish tray, and piping hot popovers before the main course arrived at the table. 

Guests stood in line outside of the restaurant for a chance of getting a table at the last minute. The old-world atmosphere, expertly-prepared food, and convenient location proved to be a recipe for success. Just one year after opening, Bud expanded the dining room to accommodate more tables. The kitchen was updated to work more efficiently in a smaller footprint, which allowed for booths to be added.

Sadly, Bud Rush passed away in 1960 at the age of 53. Florence became the restaurant’s sole owner and promised guests the same high-quality food and service they’d come to expect at Heidelberg. One of the couple’s sons eventually took over the restaurant. Heidelberg Dining Lounge continued to serve American favorites alongside traditional German specialties until 1974.

Popovers

Heidelberg Dining Lounge in Richfield, Minnesota.
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Blend eggs, milk, and oil by hand or at the slowest speed in an electric mixer. Add flour and salt. Mix at medium speed until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Heat cast-iron popover pans or cast-iron cupcake pans. Coat pans with oil.
  • Fill every other cup about three-fourths full of batter. Bake in a 450° oven for 30 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 300° and bake 15 minutes more.
  • Serve warm with butter or jam.
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: Richfield
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