Chances are, if you’ve spent a little time in the downtown Tulsa bar scene, you’ve had more than a few good beers at Fassler Hall–and maybe a bratwurst and a few duck fat fries, too. But if you haven’t spent a ton of time at Fassler Hall, you might be missing some of its finest offerings.
There are quite a few attributes that make Fassler Hall the end-of-the-night meeting destination, the Saturday brunch binge of choice, the premiere game-viewing room, and the preferred live music venue of so many Tulsans. Maybe it’s the sheer amount of space in place, with its many wooden tables and its long-stretching bar. Perhaps it’s the ample natural light flooding through the garage doors, the glinting bulbs strung from the brick walls to the ceiling, or the kitschy blue branded van that welcomes patrons inside. Possibly, it’s the great selection of beers (German, local, and otherwise) on tap. Probably, it’s all of these, along with the fact that Fassler Hall is just plain cool–hip enough for the tattooed twenty-somethings, relaxed enough for the middle-agers and weekend cyclists, rowdy enough for local athletic teams and sports fans, fatty enough for the Duck fry-lovers, and refined enough for the beer snobs. Fassler’s got it all.
I met up with a few other TulsaFood staffers at Fassler on a weekday afternoon to sample the food and froth. To start, I ordered the Founders All Day IPA, thinking it could set me up with that hoppy bite I love, but still leave me with enough energy to get things done that day–and it did, as session ales are wont to do. If IPAs aren’t your thing, give the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, the Spaten Oktoberfest, the Founders Big Luscious, or the Prairie Birra a try. If IPAs are your thing, and your schedule looks pretty free for the rest of the day, give the Founders Dirty Bastard a taste. Hell, go for the Spaten Optimator. We won’t tell.
Of course, I was mistaken. In fact, it’s likely that most Tulsans have, like me, missed out on the best elements of Fassler’s menu at no fault of their own. With a list of offerings and combinations far more extensive than meets the eye, it’s easy to get stuck on the brat and fries and forget to explore. To remedy this, grab a few friends and head to Fassler during brunch hours on Saturday or Sunday (11am-4pm) where you can taste the best of their breakfast dishes (the Spicy Chicken Biscuit or The Chorizo Tacos), along with the tried and true classics.
If you’re stopping by Fassler after work, do the right thing and grab yourself a pre-dinner appetizer of Duck Fat Fries. The fries come out piping hot and dusted with sea-salt, and are well worth their $6 price tag. Better yet, make a meal out of them with add-ons: I like the chili and the fried egg. You can complement their saltiness with Marshall’s big Jamoke Porter.
On this particular day, a mere order of Duck Fat Fries wasn’t going to cut it, so we ordered a few items to share. We started with the Schnitzel Sandwich, a breaded and fried pork loin served with Gouda and house-made mustard on rye. Even if mustard isn’t your go-to condiment, with its large grains and curious spice, this sauce is not to be missed. We paired the schnitzel with a pretzel and smoked gouda sauce. While both are delicious, I recommend enjoying them separately.
My plan was to pick a favorite dish and gush on it throughout this article, but the awful truth is that it was simply impossible. The accolade must be reduced to a tie–one between the juicy, feta-speckled Lamb Sausage and the heavenly greasy Kraut Burger. Your best bet? Put the guise of health aside for these two and enjoy them for what they are: unique, messy, simple, and intensely flavorful.
The Lamb sausage came out on a warm pita with spring mix, tzaziki sauce, and feta crumbles. There was a nice, subtle after-spice to the sausage, and the pita pockets the sausage perfectly, catching any rogue grease drips. (Hint: pairs very well with the smooth and crisp Green Flash Jibe Session IPA).
Maybe it’s the red-blooded Amurican in me, but the Kraut Burger really struck a chord. It’s your typical grilled burger and bun, but it’s fancied up a bit with Gouda, the house-made mustard, and traditional Sauer kraut. The Kraut Burger has all the best elements of a diner burger with a little extra pizzazz and flavor tossed on top. Skip the ketchup if you can–this burger needs no accompaniment.
Although I really just wanted more Kraut Burger, I moved on to the other offerings. I quickly got over my food envy after a bite of the Jalapeno Cheddar Brat, due largely in part to its smoky flavor and manageable spice. (I’m a big fan of spice, but I’ve heard the Habenero Chicken Sausage is a force to be reckoned with. However, I can assure you that the spice in the Jalapeno Brat isn’t outrageous). Still, this dish is best enjoyed with a beer. I recommend a Stiegl—ask the bartender to recommend a good one.
Vegetarians need not fret about finding great food at Fassler, as there’s an awesome veggie option in the Falafel Dog. It’s not so much a ‘dog’ as a nod to Germany’s neighbors in the middle east. Delicious. An order comes with three homemade falafel patties on pita with greens, feta, black olives, and tzatziki sauce. For a place that specializes in sausages and schnitzel, Fassler does meatless options very well.
And now, the specials! As someone who thought they knew what was up with Fassler, I’ll be the first to admit my naiveté and share my newfound menu tips. For one, get the Gouda sauce with the Duck Fat Fries. It’s a totally different dish! Speaking of fries, you get a side of them for free with any food purchase from 11am-2pm during the week. And of course, there’s Happy Hour from 4-8pm every Tuesday through Friday (grab the mini dogs). Finally, if you’re strapped for cash and in need of a filling meal, stop by for Sausage Party Mondays, when all sausages are half price from 11am-midnight.
The bar keeps the taps regularly updated, featuring plenty of seasonal beers alongside its year-round offerings, and a nice selection of craft beers that rotate every few weeks. You’ll almost always find brews from Spaten and Stiegl on draft, along with something from local favorites Marshall and Prairie. German beers like the Warsteiner Dunkel are popular among patrons, while more experienced drinkers often go for the seasonal offerings. If you don’t quite know where to begin with choosing a beer, ask a bartender. They know their stuff and are usually more than happy to help you make a selection (just be sure to give them a minute if it’s busy).