An Essential Valley Restaurant for Schnitzel, German Beer, and Giant Pretzels

Come for the giant pretzels, but stay for the homemade Bavarian grub at this classic Glendale restaurant.
Come for the giant pretzels, but stay for the homemade Bavarian grub at this classic Glendale restaurant. Courtesy of Haus Murphy’s
Welcome to the 2018 edition of The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.

19: Bavarian pretzels & schnitzel at Haus Murphy's

Downtown Glendale has changed a lot in recent years. Some of the district's oldest antique stores have closed (R.I.P. Mad Hatter’s Antiques & Collectibles), and a new wave of businesses is moving in (welcome to the neighborhood Veggie Rebellion, Glendale's first vegan grocery store).

One thing that hasn't changed around these parts is Haus Murphy's, a venerable German restaurant and beer garden located across the street from Murphy Park.

Owners Brett and Rose Hoffman opened the restaurant and bar in 1996, bringing old-country staples like potato pancakes and jägerschnitzel to the Arizona desert.

In its more than 20-year run in downtown Glendale, Haus Murphy's has played host to lively Oktoberfest celebrations, countless accordion-tuba serenades (stop by on the weekend to hear Dale Mathis play sweet, weepy tunes on the squeezebox), and even the occasional food world celebrity (Guy Fieri once stopped by for the homemade sauerbraten and schnitzel).

Step into the dining room and you're transported into a Bavarian lodge, complete with dark wooden tables, old-fashioned bric-a-brac, and the clinking of glasses.

There are 10 German beers (or biers) on tap, making Haus Murphy's an indispensable spot for anyone with a thirst for crisp spatens, citrusy Schofferhofers, and dark beers brewed in historic southern German monasteries.

The beer is great, sure, but so is the menu, replete with German comfort food like bratwursts, roulade (a tender beef roll), sweet-and-sour marinated beef, and weiner schnitzel.

Of course, you must try Haus Murphy's enormous house pretzel, a gorgeously tender, salt-flecked Bavarian delight served with butter and spicy mustard (for a slight upcharge, you can dunk this beauty in the "haus" cheese spread).

The pretzel is so popular that it comes with a "limited availability" warning on the menu. I've never had any trouble getting my hands on one, but you might want to remain cautiously optimistic, especially if you stop by during the restaurant's busy Oktoberfest season.

If you have any room after the pretzel, Haus Murphy's also offers a delightful menu of schnitzels. The most popular option is the paprika schnitzel, a pounded-thin, delicately breaded pork loin topped with an exceptionally savory bacon, onion and paprika sauce. Wash it all down with some beer, and if you have room, one of the restaurant's excellent homemade desserts (who knew that something known as sauerkraut chocolate cake could taste so good?).

Traditional German cooking may not be particularly trendy at the moment, but who needs trends when you've got schnitzel, spätzle, beer and giant pretzels? Haus Murphy's take on Bavarian grub is delicious and timeless. Let's drink to that.

Haus Murphy's. 5739 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale; 623-939-2480.
Tuesday through Saturday noon to 9 p.m., Sundays noon to 8 p.m., closed Mondays.

The Essentials so far:
50: Soul food platter at Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles
49: The Bear at Short Leash Hot Dogs + Rollover Doughnuts
48: Grilled squid and other specialties at Andreoli Italian Grocer
47: I-10 Nachos at Cocina 10
46: Coffee made from ROC2 beans
45: The Haturo Sub Sandwich at Cheese 'n Stuff
44: Zookz at Zookz
43: Jade Red Chicken at Chino Bandido
42: Tasting menu at Quiessence at The Farm
41: Single-origin Papua New Guinea Bar at Zak's Chocolate
40: Green chile at Casa Reynoso
39: Brûlée burger from Paradise Valley Burger Company
38: Hand-pulled noodles from China Magic Noodle House
37: Carne adovada sliders at Dick's Hideaway
36: Crispy Pig Ear and Amaro cocktails from Crudo
35: Chile-laced specialties from Cafe Ga Hyang
34: Martinis at AZ88
33: Nooner at Duck & Decanter
32: Eggs Maximilian at Harlow's Cafe
31: Beef Tacos from Asadero Norte De Sonora
30: Orange Blossom from Huss Brewing Company
29: Rye bread from Yasha From Russia
28: Scotch Beef and Mashed Potatoes from Tarbell's
27: Griddled Corn Cakes and Ramona Farms Super Food Salad at Phoenix City Grille
26: Soup from Reathrey Sekong
25: Lamb tongue sandwich at Haji Baba
24: The Special at Grand Avenue Pizza Company
23: Red chile at Elmer's Tacos
22: Marranitos at La Purisima Bakery
21: Kronuts from Karl's Bakery
20: Beef pies at Chou's Kitchen
19: Bavarian pretzels & schnitzel at Haus Murphy's
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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.