This winter has been alterable as we reach the halfway point with lengthening days (by the way The Mummers will once again invade Fort Street to observe the Hibernian high holiday-- details will be on Facebook shortly). A few stalwart geese at times wheel over by house content in the knowledge that the crabgrass is comfortably hibernating under a snowy quilt. I have been following our newly hatched hockey team “The Thunderbirds” they are playing good hockey and have some great promotions, although I think that the sausage on Fort Street is a tad more tasty than the dollar hot dogs at the Mass Mutual Center. If you haven't been to local hockey take in a game. The mascot, Boomer, makes even a ho hum game exciting. While I prefer watching hockey, some people for some reason enjoy skiing. I have never found much pleasure in burning a tank of gas and paying a lot of money for being cold and wet with the possible added fillip of a broken limb.
Gunilla Knutsom is a little known name, however she is very familiar to most born prior to the Nixonian Presidency, especially those not distaff. From 1967 to 1973, she was featured in Noxzema Shaving cream commercials,with “The Stripper” as music and her saying “Take it off—Take it all off” to viewers. Joe Namath was featured in some of the ads. Adolescent boys with only a minuscule hopeful wisp of facial hair were buying Noxzema. This former Miss Sweden was an avid skier and would stop at The Student Prince for dinner on her way back to Manhattan. It was interesting watching the heads turn as she sauntered through our dining rooms, customers sotto voce asked Is that..and I nodded affirmation. She was a very pleasant lady and lighted up the shortest of Winter eves.
Our Gamefest has been going well. The other day a couple came in, he had a gigantic beard and a beer belly almost equivalent to mine. The petite lady inquired if non game victuals were available, I told her that our regular menu was being served. They then sat down and she had an elk chop with a smoked tomato garnish eating everything but the bone—while he enjoyed a kale salad. They shared a giant chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream chocolate sauce and caramel...a bit of sweet bringing back the fantasies of childhood.
We have lots of events in the near future, Monday February 27 is our second hunters' Dinner. We are fairly close to a sell out so if you want to join this eighty year tradition give us a call, we do ask that gentlemen wear sport coats. On March 4, the Three Irish Tenors will be at Symphony Hall. The last time they were in town, we were thrilled when they joined us for dinner. Very nice men. Bonnie and I really enjoyed their concert. A great way to shake off the winter blues and enjoy the slide into spring. In January we had a prixe fixe dinner a beer tour through Germany with many different styles of Germanic quaffs and matching foods. Close to seventy guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves at this event, the only complaints were that the food portions were overly ample. We will be having a similar dinner on March 9. The meal will pay tribute to the monastic brewing tradition. In the middle ages many foods were not allowed during the Lenten season by the Church, farms had nothing growing other than a stalk or two of parsley. One of the few sources of nourishment was beer which during those times was aptly described as liquid bread. The Trappist monks have a lovely Abbey in Spencer . They have long made excellent jams and jellies. A few years back they decided to hop into the brewing business and have produced some stunning beverages. Our dinner will feature these unique beers along with Chef Zach's creations to enhance the meal. It promises to be a remarkable evening. Call us to get tickets. 413 788-6628. Our web is studentprince.com and we are on Facebook.
See you on Fort Street, Rudi
January, sandwiched betwixt frantic December and frenetic February, is usually a tranquil month on Fort Street. People have yet to perform their annual abandonment of New Year's resolutions and the generosity of December is bitterly regretted as multi-volume credit card statements are heaved into mailboxes.Christmas went well at the Student Prince.Lots of Singers entertained lots of customers.Generations of traditions were emulated and a few new fillips were added.In 1935, there was no technology to fill the dining room with snow when a ringing and singing rendition of “Jingle Bells” was in full force.It was lots of fun to see the snowflakes in the air, little kids (and many who had been little kids in far gone times) enjoyed the show and snow, with as many as twenty carolers. This is indeed a far cry from the initial appearance of the choir on Fort Street, when four, if they all showed up, singers were led by Maggie Sarno in exchange for a few beers and a dinner.In the past the caroling lasted eight days long and intense days. This December we had 19 days giving lots more folks the chance to enjoy the beautiful decorations and music.We had a lunch time performance which was much enjoyed. We plan to have a few more afternoon shows in the future.The earlier times are a boon to those of us that enjoy driving a bit more when the dim December sun still gives feeble hints of light.
January is a good time to join us on Fort Street, Chef Zach continues in the tradition of exploring different specials.We have found that trying specials for a short time is like a casting call on Broadway—a chance to see if an item will make the promotion to the regular menu.We have a panoply of new sausage items.Classic Pork and Garlic, Dark beer and mustard, Cherry Pepper and roast garlic, and my favorite, broccoli, cheddar, and bacon.This was delicious with a Toasted walnut and Blue Cheese topping.Stop by and enjoy.Beer is best with wurst, maybe a Jack's Abbey.
February is “Game Month” at the Student Prince.Lots of things engender confusion at the restaurant, two names“Student Prince Cafe” and Fort Restaurant” the address was formerly 8-14, boasting of an expansionin the late 1940's, and causing confused delivery persons to look for a three digit address on a one block street. Perhaps more puzzlement is due to the fraternal twin concepts of “Game Month” and “Hunters Nights”
We serve exotic meats through most of February, elk, alligator, bison, venison, frogs legs and other seldom seen, but tasty viands. On two Mondays in February we have a price fixed dinner, with guests enjoying themselves as skilled fingers slither over accordions and a bevy of bartenders serve forth brimming beers.These evenings will be on Jan. 30 and Feb. 27. Tickets must be purchased in advance, our web studentprince.com has details.
Join us shortly, a Student Prince meal is a great vaccine against cameram febris, cabin fever to non-medical professionals!
See you on Fort Street
This year has gone scorching by. October was a good month on Fort Street we had lots of fun at the outdoor Oktoberfest and it was nice to have good size crowds enjoying themselves in Downtown. Our new hockey team won a brace of overtime victories in a sold out Mass Mutual center. The casino starts to mushroom up in the tornado ravaged South End. In East Springfield the factory to produce railroad cars for the "T" is being built. One time a group of the management from the Chinese company that owns the rail factory was in and talking to our managing partner, Andy, although an interpreter was needed, China has two languages Mandarin and Cantonese and they are quite different. The rail company is a bit of a return to the industrial roots of our city. The Wason Manufacturing company was started in 1845 and made passenger coaches and also cars for the New York Subway. In whatever language it seems that the local economy is getting better it's getting better every day. We were happy a few days ago when Governor Baker stopped by Fort street to get some nourishment for his campaign efforts. He had fried cheese, butterflied shrimp one of our legendary giant pretzels and a carbonated German beverage. Whatever one may think of Charlie's politics and policies, it has to be admitted that he has good taste in food and beverage and in restaurants.
This Autumn was a bit dry, but the leaves on the trees made some stunning shows. We were happy to see quite a few "leaf peepers" As flocks of geese wheel over my house, they can no longer amuse themselves at the rack and ruin of my lawn, I have read about sheet composting which occurs when the leaves are not raked, but allowed to decay on the lawn adding valuable nutrients to be absorbed as the days lengthen with the approach of Spring. I have to put up some signs so my neighbors realize that I am dedicated to the environment rather than lazy. Our house is quiet and without the twins. Samantha is working on her master's degree in speech pathology at Northeastern and learning how to get around in Boston, Rudi is teaching Chemistry at Nipmuc High School. He and his friends are a bit miffed at being once again, overlooked by the Nobel Prize committees.
Usually as November grasps us, I find myself looking forward to the holidays. Right now I just can't wait for the end of this vicious election. On Fort Street we had a rule that political comment was not allowed from those not registered to vote. We are formulating the initial plans for the holiday season. One of the most exciting evenings on Fort Street is the night before Thanksgiving. We will be scheduling a bevy of bartenders and our cellars will have a lot of beer to fuel the fun as old friend meet to FORTify themselves prior to feasting on Turkey We have a nice menu for Thanksgiving Day, which can be viewed on our web site www.studentprince.com. I have agreed to harvest some sage from my heirloom sage plant. I will also offer them my sage advice. If you want to dine at home give us a call, 413-788-6628 and we can prepare a turkey to go for you. We have limited oven space and need to reserve the birds quickly so don't delay, call today. As Thanksgiving approaches it's time to checkout one of the best traditions of the Student Prince. Our chorus will start carols on December 6.
In the past we had only eight evenings of song. Now the carols will peal for nineteen evenings. This is being done so that we have more capability for large groups and for family and business parties, which we often had to turn away in those days of yesteryear. In the spirit of Christmas we don't like telling folks that there is no room at the inn. We have a limited amount of space for private groups, I would guess that the weekday evenings in the earlier days of the ceremony will be much less crowded. Make your plans and plan for a nice evening on Fort Street. We will shortly have the exact hours on our Facebook page and web site.
One of my favorite stories from Christmas past is the time when the quartet (right now we have inflated our singers to an octet or even a dectet, if such a word exists) was a bit slow in getting to where my Dad wished them to be. He yelled in what passed for his sotto voice for Margaret to "mach schnell" She mentioned that every year a few more tables were added to the dining room. His reply to Maggie, who was not a thin woman, was that each year her butt got bigger. He used a synonym for butt, however.
The sun gets lower each day and the geese fly closer to the ground over the tangled unbraided weeds on my lawn and farms, all but fallow but for sporadic pockets of pumpkins plumping to perfection--pumpkins blissfully unaware unaware of their impending demise on suburban sidewalks. The summer bounty is leaving with not even an abrupt farewell and the provender of the chill months lies ahead. September passed quickly on Fort Street. Labor Day weekend was celebrated with a block party of "All things Pig", roast sucking pig was the centerpiece of the event and the event featured many toothsome pork concoctions, We have remained unable to find a way to sell the squeal of the swine, but I will think up a way for the event next year. The Student Prince dipped its toe (and lederhosen) into the Big E. A great time was had by all. The fair is a daunting time, the all but unending hordes of guests are lots of fun,but ones feet tire, especially after a day or five of 12 hour shifts. and sometimes it seems a bit difficult to wipe off the smiles at the end of a long day. We sold a bunch of 18 inch bratwurst and a multitude of kegs of beer. I think that customers were quite pleased with the product and a lot was learned. We enjoyed the opening of the Springfield Symphony and quite a few guests made use of the available combination of dinner on Fort Street and Symphony tickets.
October is always a fun (and busy) month on Fort Street. Our Oktoberfest menu has been enjoyed for over 50 years. Vats, or perhaps cauldrons, of pea soup are gently simmered as a start to the meal, with their aroma permeating our kitchens. One can choose from various main courses, roast chicken is a classic meal at the Bavarian Oktoberfest, we don't have the oven capacity to cook a few thousand birds at one time, but those that emerge from the kitchen are lovely crisp skin and a juicy interior. The companionship of sauerkraut and chicken might seem an unlikely friendship but it works well. Another all but legendary meal is our Weisswurst, ground and flavored here. We have a set of weights for sausage seasoning -and no other purpose- that my father brought with him when he left Germany in 1934. No one understood why their usage was limited to sausage preparation, but one did not question Rupprecht, at least not more than once! Our sausage stuffing machine (hand cranked , as it should be) is at least fifty years old, and still works perfectly.
In the old days in Munich it was considered bad luck to eat the sausages after the church bells had made their mid day tolling, Perhaps this belief was a weird superstition, or more likely due to the lack of refrigeration in 19th century Europe. In Bavaria the weisswurst is traditionally poached slowly and served in a china bowl filled with the poaching water. At one time we did this and American customers never seemed thrilled with the presentation. The German aficionados of the sausage would suck out the interior and leave the skins for their hounds. On Fort Street we grill the sausage and subtly suggest that knife and fork are tha appropriate method of eating it and watch the customers enjoy. a smear of mustard is not a bad idea. This month we also see a return of what was once one of our most popular items, Roulade Of Fresh Steer Beef" a product that was the exception to rule that one should avoid any menu item with plural adjectives. This is a thin slice of beef round with a bit of mustard a few onions and a slice of salt pork and dill pickle, rolled up and picked into place browned and then finished by braising in beef stock. We have had several customers inquiring about this dish, in the past we sold some of these, but not a lot. If you would like to see this permanently return to our menu stop by. Even if you have never tried this you will find it a great meal. When making this we used a paintbrush to coat the meat with mustard. I must confess that at times a bit of mustard ended up brushed on our faces.
Meals need a bit of sweet to make them complete, this is the time of year when young men's thoughts turn to strudel and the variety of native apples makes strudels even better. An astace from a wonderful German lady was to use a variety of apples in baking, be it pies,strudel cakes or whatever. We have a dessert special this month of mud pie, while this is best known as a Missippiean product, it goes down smoothly in New English Autumn. It has been said that one can never be too rich or too slim- extremes to which I have never subscribed, it should also have been mentioned that a desert can never have too much chocolate. As the calendar pages fall like the leaves, remember that the night before Thanksgiving is coming soon, as is Thanksgiving Day. Our Christmas carols will start the eighth of December with the final chord on Christmas Eve. ...Make reservations as soon as possible. Please!!!!
See you on Fort Street,
This has been the driest early summer in my memory. The geese honk appreciation of my crispy and crunchy lawn through their parched throats as they wheel overhead. My six tomato plants have produced one fruit which I am might have to share with a very colorful insect. My tomatoes are not used in the delicious tomato salad on Fort Street, although from time to time I might contribute a bit of basil and parsley. As the vacation season starts to wind down we see a few familiar faces, and lose a few of those that have been unable to enjoy being away. Rest assured that the temporary bachelors and spinsters have enjoyed a quick meal on Fort Street and those vacationing will be spared the sight of a sink overflowing with soiled dishes. Some timid souls might think that classic Germanic meals such as Pork shanks are not best enjoyed during tropic doldrums, we have a nice variety of salads to keep you cool. I have found that hamburgers can be enjoyed in any weather and the burgers on Fort Street are delicious. eafood specials are very tasty,fried clams and lobster rolls are great and can certainly be enjoyed even though the roar of the Atlantic surf is not heard. There are quite a few entertainment venues in Downtown. White Lion has a series of pop up concerts on Wednesday evenings and the legendary Stearns Square shows are always fun. these events have no charge. On Friday and Saturday nights we have entertainment in Ruppert's room starting at seven o'clock. There is no cover charge to enjoy the music. The entertainers are not only talented, but also can keep the volume at a level where conversation is possible.
July 23'rd marked twenty years since the passing of Rupprecht. I am often asked what he would think of the current operation. Before he died we had been told that the business in the space now occupied by Ruppert's room and that the landlord might evict that business if we so hinted. My Dad said that it would be nice to have the area, but that it would not be good luck to do anything to cause an eviction. He would be very happy that the traditions of the Student Prince are continuing. I am most grateful for the efforts of the Picknelly, Yee and Vann families. Steve Roberts was instrumental in keeping us going on Fort Street. The evenings with Christmas caroling have doubled, we are accepting reservations for the festive Holiday ceremonies. There are always some people that are upset when there is no room at our inn, give us a call as soon as possible. Most of our traditional foods are still on the menu and some newer items are being offered. The removal of handful of steins and a wall have opened up the establishment a bit. New restrooms look great with some 21'st century technology. Some people forget that we are a restaurant and not a museum. The place looks great. The steins still sparkle with a select group of veteran employees brave enough to abseil the walls. The flowers still bloom in our window boxes. I have been well treated and I enjoy my limited engagements on Fort Street. It is a pleasure to shake hands and chat with customers that I have known for so long. Since starting my semi retirement, I have lost thirty pounds and my blood pressure is now a bit less than tha of a giraffe. Many long time employees remain reminding us of the many traditions built up since 1935. If you have not yet stopped by please do so and I think that you will like the (semi)new look. When I started tending bar there were seven draught beer selections. We now have twenty two different varieties from the pipe. It would be a great quest to try all the beers, although not a good idea to do it in one sitting.
One of the classic summertime favorites on Fort Street is Corn O'Brien-native corn cut from the cob and sauteed with green pepper(hence the "O'Brien) bacon, and onions. Before the Papacy of Paul VI, Catholics were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays. On Fridays, we would prepare the corn O'Brien sans bacon to save our Catholic customers from eternal damnation. Some non Catholics complained and for a brief time we asked people whether or not they wanted bacon. One of the servers decided to ask folks their religion and at one time came into the kitchen ordering the corn and mentioned that bacon could be used since the customers weren't Catholic, but Jewish. We then decided to ban bacon on Fridays, until the beneficence of good Pope Paul. If thoughts of bacon are tempting your taste buds, get ready for a lot of fun on Labor Day weekend. On the evenings of September second and third, we will be having a pork festival on Fort Street. Bacon will play a starring role in some of the beverages, although more conventional quaffs will also be sold. Even if you might be getting the youngsters ready for school, you do deserve a break and you can bring the children to enjoy the fun. After the pork festival, we will be setting up a nice facility at The Big E, where we will be serving some fun Bavarian specialties along with freshly shucked oysters..
See you on Fort Street (or at the Big E),
The long days and short summer nights are a favorite time of year. On Fort Street, July is usually a quiet month. This year we have a nice array of events. We were closed on the Fourth, perhaps so that our staff can enjoy the holiday and perhaps because it is a slow day, always finished off by a few folks coming in after the pyrotechnics, seeking water and rest rooms. I can not remember an early summer so devoid of precipitation. Usually at this time of year my yard is exceptional due to the massive proliferation of dandelions. This year my lawn quickly gained the somber shades of tan and brown that oft come in August. However the geese still make their mocking bleats as they wheel over the dehydrated remnants of my lawn.
On July 13 we will be featuring our classic veal shanks. These will be sold by reservation. Lots of folks have asked for the return of this classic dish to our dining rooms and we hope to see a nice crowd.—A steak, incinerated on the grill is not a bad thing, but the shanks are a legendary meal. If your spouse and kids have made you a geographical bachelor, or bachelorette stop by and enjoy. You might enjoy sitting at our legendary bar where there are always a few guests more than willing to share political opinions with you. It sometimes seems that the louder the political discussions the less the partisan is to be a voter.
On July 14 we will not be doffing berets to honor Bastille Day, but we will be conjuring memories of oilskin slicks and crabbing in the chill Arctic as Nick Tokman from America's Deadliest catch joins us. Tickets are twenty five dollars. Our regular menu is available. Our summer menu features delicious lobsters along with fried whole belly clams and scallops. From Thursday to Saturday we offer a brace of lobsters for twenty four dollars. Give us a call to reserve your nice pair. 413 788 6628.
Chef Zach will be giving a class on July 21 teaching how to use the bounty of local produce in the kitchen. Everyone enjoys his classes. A few skilled veterans of these events have found that a glass or three of wine at the bar prior to the event helps those recreating the recipes. Around the middle of this month we will see native corn and field tomatoes roll from the farms into the marketplace. As always we will be featuring these items from the stony New English soil. We have served a delicious local tomato salad for many decades. I usually made the salad. We would use basil in the salad, for some reason my Father did not like basil so I would hide it in our cavernous coolers. We would also usually have mint juleps in the summer, One time Ruppert, my father, was bored on a slow July evening that passed slowly. He suggested to one customer that a mint julep would be an ideal preprandial . The customer went along with the suggestion albeit reluctantly.
The drink was ordered and the bartender mentioned that there was no mint for it. Ruppert said “Horseshine!” or something like that, and went foraging in the coolers for mint. His eyes saw the verdant basil and he carried it to the bar waving it triumphantly. The bartender looked at me. I shrugged and the world's first (and hopefully last) basil julep was crafted and served forth. I still have faint hopes that the anesthetic effects of ice and ninety proof bourbon numbed the consumer's papillae.
Fortunately, these were the days prior to Tripadvisor so the net was not brimming with comments on the bizarre cocktail. By the way the Student Prince was given a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor. Kudos to all for winning this very prestigious award.
See you on Fort Street