Heidi and Torsten Riemenschneider had operated their Tors Country Pub in Sperry for two years, largely under the radar for most Tulsans. They recently brought the “country” and its German cuisine to Brookside.
Over the 25 years Tors and Heidi have been married, Tors has cooked in Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, France, Canary Islands, Uruguay and Canada. The question begs: How did they end up in Sperry, Oklahoma?
“Back when I was a young chef, you had to have two years of business college to open your own restaurant in Germany, which is one reason I ended up cooking in other countries,” Tors said recently. “It’s different today.”
They said they decided to live and work in the United States for a while. They applied for their green cards in 2013 and wound up moving to Florida in 2015.
“We wanted a place not as crowded as Florida with more countryside,” Tors said. “We did research and found Oklahoma would be a good place for us to start a restaurant.”
He said they found an abandoned property in Sperry, made a deal with the owner and opened the 40-seat Tors Country Pub.
“The owner passed away, and our contract was almost up,” Tors said. “I came to this place in Brookside to buy a beer cooler. I met the landlord and asked if she was interested in renting it out. Then came the coronavirus, but we kept talking and worked out a deal.”
The Riemenschneiders say their place is not just a restaurant or bar but a pub that is welcome for all ages to gather, which is what we observed during a recent dinner visit.
Based on our two trips to Germany, we were eager to try out Tors Country Pub, and we weren’t disappointed.
We shared an appetizer, French Baguette Marseille ($10), and ordered two dinners, jager-schnitzel ($15) and bacon-wrapped rib-eye steak ($19).
The appetizer was a winner, featuring four thin slices of graved salmon (cured salmon) on thin-sliced toasted baguettes and topped with a honey mustard cream sauce. We didn’t leave a bite.
The jager-schnitzel was a monster. The breaded pork steak had a slightly crunchy crust, was fork tender and covered most of the plate. It was topped with an earthy mushroom sauce. I took home a piece large enough to make a sandwich the next day.
The 12-ounce rib-eye was juicy and tender with a drizzle of a nice hollandaise sauce on top.
We both substituted spaetzle for pub fries (I think it was a $1 upcharge), and it was a good choice. Spaetzle is a traditional egg noodle dish mixed with a creamy sauce or gravy and went well with both meats.
Dinners also came with another traditional side, a cold green bean salad with lettuce and a finely chopped, simple slaw with a sweet dressing.
I think the dessert we shared was called a chocolate cheesecake ($5), but we just called it “to die for.” It had a layer of chocolate cake and a layer of vanilla cheesecake topped with blueberries and whipped cream.
On a return visit, I would like to try some of the other schnitzels and steaks, and I hear the burgers are tasty. All eight of the appetizers looked inviting.
One dish available for lunch and dinner is called the Big Bavarian ($16), which includes house-made brats, smoked pork chop, meatloaf, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, gravy and a salad.
Tors said he cuts his steaks and makes all of the sausages and sauces. He said the menu eventually will expand when more food items are available to order from overseas. A takeout deli cooler also will be added in the future.
The bar menu includes a few wines, simple cocktails and German and Czech beers on tap. A few more are available in cans or bottles.
The room is a shotgun space with a seven-seat granite bar and 13 four-top tables. Sidewalk tables also are available.
Decorations include black-and-white photos of Germany, beer signs and farm implements.
A son, Dominik, helps out when he is available.
“We will have karaoke nights in the future and add some decorations,” Tors said. “We want to be a place where families can gather and enjoy their time with us.”
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