Freiberg’s must be German for “good eating”

Mystery Diner • May 13, 2019 at 7:10 PM

My friends the dine-around bunch and I were recently graced with the company of two of our wider circle of friends: the Colonel and his Lady.

The Lady was in town to consult professionally with the Retiree on an issue of mutual interest. The Colonel was in town to make sure his Lady and the Retiree didn’t indulge in their usual hijinks and cause a breach of the peace.

The rest of us were looking forward to an enjoyable evening at Freiberg’s German Restaurant, the place where we go when the Colonel and his Lady come to town.

Freiberg’s German Restaurant occupies the historic Tennessee National Bank Building on Fountain Square; it is one of the anchor nightspots in Downtown Johnson City.

Proprietor Andreas Herholz has retained a lot of the bank’s original interior for his restaurant, overlaid with some low-key and tasteful German-themed décor. Freiberg’s main floor seats about 40 patrons with room in the loft for 30 souls more in cozy and comfortable surroundings.

Toward the back you’ll find Freiberg’s well-stocked bar and access to the (very clean) restrooms.

Summer salad with chicken: The seven members of our party found our favorite table near Freiberg’s front door. I had spotted my menu choice immediately: a Freiberg summer salad with chicken or, in German, Sommersalat ($7.69) und Huehnchen ($3.29 extra).

This is Freiberg’s version of the classic dinner salad with chicken, using seasonal vegetables and field greens with a correctly spiced and succulent chicken properly prepared. Bits of bacon are there providing additional yum, and there was some balsamic vinaigrette to use as my salad dressing. Take it from me, this is a dish you will want to linger over.

Lentil soup with fried cauliflower: With a nod in my direction, our calorie-conscious friend the Dieter ordered a bowl of Freiberg’s lentil soup ($7.49) and added the fried cauliflower appetizer as her side order ($7.49). Lentilsuppe is a favorite of the Dieter’s, meeting many requirements of her dietery regimen. Though cauliflower, especially cooked caulflower usually gets a big zero from me, Freiberg‘s fried cauliflower version does meet with my acceptance, as it does with my Dieter friend.

Pork Schnitzel: The schnitzel as prepared at Freiberg’s being a particular favorite of hers, my partner ordered the regular schnitzel platter ($11.99) adding some of Freiberg’s potatoes & onions along with some steamed broccoli as her two side orders.

To make schnitzel in the Freiberg’s manner, you marinate a good slice of prime pork tenderloin in some of Freiberg’s proprietary marinade. You then pound the tenderloin until it is around a quarter-inch thick, then bread it (in Freiberg’s proprietary breading mixture, of course) and quickly fry it in very hot oil before serving on its platter, all snuggled up with the broccoli, potatoes and onions. Very nice indeed.

Cheddar bratwursts: Being a kid in a candy store doesn’t compare to being the Carnivore at Freiberg’s. My friend was really enjoying his visit to his particular version of meat-eaters paradise.

I believe I heard him emit a low, feral growl as he made his menu selection; a platter of Freiberg’s cheddar bratwurst ($11.49) sided with (what else?) their potatoes & onions.

The side of steamed broccoli was added only because the Dieter told him he couldn’t have more meat instead. At tableside, the Carnivore’s cheddar brats platter presented a toothsome display of two bratwurst sausages made with aged cheddar cheese, grilled and then enrobed in Freiberg’s beer-infused cheese sauce.

Further, the potatoes & onions appeared to have extra bacon crumbles, further endearing Freiberg’s to the Carnivore’s palate, heart and soul.

Paprika Schnitzel: Having had a late lunch prior to their arrival in town, the Colonel and his Lady opted to share Freiberg’s popular paprika schnitzel ($13.99) between them, with Bavarian potato salad (the Colonel’s favorite) and sauerkraut as the side orders.

Also known as Balkan or zigeuner schnitzel, paprika schnitzel done the Freiberg’s way takes a hand-breaded and fried pork tenderloin schnitzel, and bastes it with Freiberg’s paprika-laden zigeuner sauce, yielding an entree redolent of spice.

Present also is a sizable back-of-the-throat spicy heat; initially intense, it soon subsides to a nice mellow glow. A forkful or two of the delicious Bavarian potato salad helps here, with the restaurant’s homemade sauerkraut providing the palate cleanser.

Sauer Braten: A long-time customer, the Retiree did not need a menu to tell her what her meal would be: Freiberg’s signature Sauer Braten platter ($16.99) sided with potatoes & onions and rotekohl, red cabbage.

The culmination of a three-day process using Freiberg’s own marinade, a half-inch thick slice of choice beef steak is slowly basted in its marinade-laden gravy until just right. Having the rotekohl‘s sour tang nearby cleanses the palate.

The colorful potatoes & onions contribute additional color and flavor elements, making the Retiree‘s Sauer Braten a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.

The bottom line: Already popular as a supper dining destination, Freiberg’s lunch specials have been gathering a crowd as well. Drawn from the supper menu offerings, you still get the lunch portion of each entree plus two sides and a drink for under 10 bucks.

Having soup & salad for lunch gets you lentil soup and a side salad for $4.99, which makes Freiberg’s the best fast food lunch value in town. As for dessert, Freiberg’s has homemade apple strudel with ice cream ($6.49). How can you go wrong?

Recommended by the dine-around bunch and the Mystery Diner.

Freiberg’s German Restaurant

203 E. Main Street

Johnson City


Mon-Thu 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Available on Facebook, social media & at


Credit cards accepted