The Bluffton Brauhaus



Brothers Alfred and Volker Kettering might have pursued different careers — Alfred is the seasoned chef and owner of Alfred’s, a popular Hilton Head Island restaurant, while Volker worked for a German corporation — but they have restaurants in their DNA. Their grandparents had a sizeable brauhaus, German for “brewery,” before the brothers were born, and their parents also ran a restaurant in their hometown of Kaiserslautern, Germany, from 1954 to 1960.

“We knew that they had a restaurant, but we never talked about it until now. We were looking for pictures and we even found a postcard,” says Alfred, whose parents also ran a restaurant in their home town of Kaiserslautern in southwestern Germany from 1954 until 1960.

So it’s only fitting that the brothers continue the family tradition, opening the new Bluffton Brauhaus at 68 Bluffton Road in Bluffton.

Brauhaus2The Kettering brothers traveled to Germany over the summer to research ideas for the menu and get a feel of the ambiance they want to recreate at their restaurant.

“We were impressed by how much people in Germany enjoy brauhauses,” Alfred said.

The restaurant — and the brothers’ opportunity to work together — have been a long time coming. When they were younger, Alfred decided he wanted to be a chef and immediately began to pursue his dream. Volker didn’t want to follow the same path.

“I stayed home, and I didn’t really want to work, so soon so I went to college,” Volker said.

In 1965, while for Hilton Hotels, Alfred was transferred to the U.S. This time, Volker decided to follow him, moving to the U.S. in 1968.

“I fell in love with the country and the people and decided to stay,” Volker said. “I got lucky and I got a job with a German company and stayed with them for 34 years. I moved to the Lowcountry from the West Coast in 2010 to be near my brother.”

The brothers’ new restaurant will offer some German classics, like Wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, roasted duckling with spaetzle and red cabbage. There’s also a “Bratwurst Experience” section with Thüringer-, Nürnberger- and Müenchner-style sausages, as well as salads, vegetables and fish dishes.

There will also be a selection of decadent desserts. “We’re going to have a strudel, a German chocolate cake and a few more desserts,” Volker said. “We’re talking to a couple of very talented bakers.”

Brauhaus3The food won’t be the only way the brothers plan to give the place a German feel.

“We’ve planted five window boxes of herbs, and we will have a vegetable garden right behind the restaurant,” Volker said. “That’s one of the things in Germany — it doesn’t matter where you are, there are window boxes full of flowers and hanging flowers.” says Volker. 

And the “brauhaus” part?

The beer selection will include 20 beers on tap and bottled beers, as wells as a number of Oktoberfest beers on tap and in bottles.

“They are seasonal, so once they’re gone, they’re gone. And they’re also usually brewed with a little higher alcohol content,” Volkner said, noting that now is the perfect time to raise a glass. “In Germany, Oktoberfest lasts three weeks and a day — 22 days total. But it’s not written in stone — we can celebrate all of October.”