As I’ve written before, there are German words so easy for an English speaker to understand that you begin to think there’s no need to study the language at all. Then there are words like Exenberger — the name of a low-priced, quick-serve restaurant. You’d expect it to serve, well, burgers. But it doesn’t; the name comes from the owner, Kay Exenberger.
Exenberger serves traditional German cooking, specifically the food of Frankfurt-am-Main typically found in the city’s apfelwein (cider) restaurants, in a fast-food manner. However, it’s not just McDonald’s with schnitzel.
The restaurant has two branches in Frankfurt, the Imbiss (“snack stand”) at Bruchstrasse 14, and the Werkskantine (“works canteen”), located in Klassikstadt, a former factory now dedicated to exhibits of classic cars, at Orberstrasse 4a. Despite the casual names and atmosphere (menu items written on a chalkboard behind the counter, simple furniture, and a sometimes high noise level), these are places you can sit down and eat your meal off real china, with cloth napkins. Of course, you can also get it to go.
The menus at the two locations are not identical, and neither are the prices, with the Werkskantine offering a wider selection and charging more — up to 21.90 euros for a grilled steak, while the most expensive main dish on the Imbiss menu is boiled beef at 12.50. Other Imbiss dishes include schnitzel (of course), beef goulash, a baked pasta dish with ham, egg, and cheese, sauerkraut casserole, and several sausage dishes. There are a few salads, all under 10 euros, and desserts (basics like berry compote, fruit dumplings, and chocolate pudding), all for under three euros, on offer.
At the Werkskantine, you’ll find the same standby dishes, but also grilled selections like pork chops, salmon, and that slightly pricey steak; soup, including one with frankfurters; a few pasta dishes; a selection of flammkuchen (think very thin pizza that doesn’t necessarily have tomato); and more elaborate desserts, as well as the same chocolate pudding, which seems to be popular with customers. So popular, it seems, they can charge half a euro more for it here than at the Imbiss.
Here are a couple of random but possibly helpful notes picked up from online reviews: The Werkskantine is dog-friendly, to the point of serving water to dogs; the green sauce seems to be a hit even with diners who don’t like the rest of Exenberger’s food. (Not everyone likes Frankfurt cuisine, though the city’s sausages are popular worldwide as the centerpiece of hot dogs.)
The Imbiss is open 11 to 11, Monday through Saturday, and the Werkskantine opens the same hours as well as 11 to 6 on Sunday.