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Reviews:
Dallas Morning News
Double D

 Hours 
Dinner:

Tue. -
Sat. from 5pm - 9pm
In a hurry, call for take out!

3390 Lakeview Parkway (Hwy 66) Rowlett, TX 75088
972 412 3555
Map

Dallas Morning News
by: Michael Precker

IF THE WORD FITS: Several years ago, another reviewer described Fritzl's Austrian Cafe & Dessert Shop as "quirky".  We still can't think of a better term, and we mean it in the nicest way. This is an unusual, unexpected pleasure in an unlikely storefront setting.

QUIRKY? How about expertly-prepared schnitzels and delicious soups on throwaway plates? A friendly dog out front who appears to be waiting patiently for leftovers? A bathroom in the back of a kitchen so small that the chef has to move away from the stove and push back a pastry rack to let you pass? Gloriously tacky decor that includes fake windows, straw mats, bad art, skis and a cuckoo clock that uses a beer bottle for the counterweight? "Everything I find, I nail to the wall," explains Klaus Fritz, the boss. Actually, the bread loaves shaped like an alligator are screwed to the wall.

KLAUS ENCOUNTERS: It's pretty much a one-man show, and Mr. Fritz is the man: scurrying around, good-naturedly barking at the waitress, juggling cast-iron skillets (well, not literally) , cracking wise with the customers in German and English. He is a fourth-generation pastry chef who liked America too much to take over the family business back in Kindberg, Austria. So he worked on cruise ships, and in Florida, Hawaii and California before settling in Garland and opening the cafe in 1996. (Moved to Rowlett in 2003)

HOW IT'S GROWN: Fritzl's began as a coffee-and-pastry shop, he says. "But maybe this is the wrong area for specialty desserts. People came in and said, 'Where's the doughnuts?' So I started making lunch specials and everybody liked the food."

PUTTING ON THE FRITZ: Now Fritzl's serves lunch and dinner in a cozy setting just half a dozen tables inside and a few more on the deck. (Call for a reservation to avoid a wait.) The menu includes soups and salads, sandwiches and pastas, but the chicken breasts and wiener schnitzels in Klaus' skillet are the main reason to visit. The basic wiener schnitzel ($9.99) was a little oily (my health-conscious mom probably would have blotted it with a towel) , but that's probably more authentic. The pork loin was tender and nicely seasoned, and came with cranberry sauce and fried potatoes tinged with just enough onion.

OTHER SCHNITZELS: Options include the Pariser -- in a beer-and-egg batter-- cordon bleu, scaloppini and paprika-sauced. We tried the paprika version of sautéed chicken breast ($8.99), delicious in a spicy cream sauce. Unfortunately, they were out of goulash, which comes as soup and as a main dish. But I'll bet Klaus knows what he's doing there, too.

STARTERS: Both tomato basil soup, with a rich, creamy base, and sauerkraut soup, stocked with potatoes and beef are highly recommended. Both are $3.99. We were less enamored with the Caesar salad ($5.49), with a heavy mayonnaise sauce. It really seemed out of place on that plastic plate.

AHH, BUT DESSERT: Baked in-house, it more than makes up for any other flaws. You can't try them all in one outing, but then again you can take them home, which many people do (whole cakes go for $23.95 to $29.95). Apple strudel was flaky and not too sweet, Black Forest cake was drenched in schnapps (This is not a complaint) and a fruit torte featured light cake and delicious cream. (Cakes are $3.50 a slice; other pastries start at $1.39). And another two or three bucks will buy you a fancy cup of coffee. Too bad this isn't the dessert buffet back on that cruise ship.

There's occasional live music, but expect the stereo to be playing German pop and various oompah numbers. It's informal, friendly and a swell change of pace. Did we mention quirky?

 


by: Michael Precker

Fritzl's Austrian Grill & Dessert Shop
Food:
***
Service:
***
Atmosphere:
***
1/2

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