When Peter Gruenewald created the menu at his 109-based restaurant, Greenwood’s German and European Restaurant on Bluebonnet Circle, he focused on traditional German dishes.
“People here expect German food,” Gruenewald said.
He doesn’t like to try new dishes that are crazy or too fancy. The dishes he prepares are simple, yet high quality. To create a menu, Gruenewald said it was important to have knowledge about food and nutrition.
He gained this knowledge in Germany during his three years of chef’s apprenticeship, which he began in 1969. After this, he completed his masters, which is the highest level of chef’s training one can achieve.
Gruenewald said he believes cooking is a calling, because it is a difficult job. Chefs must work when most other people do not, such as evenings, holidays and weekends.
“You have to sacrifice a lot,” he said.
Gruenewald cooked in various restaurants and hotels, gaining experience and learning new techniques. In Germany, he owned two restaurants with his brother. He was in charge of the cooking and his brother dealt with the business aspect of the restaurants.
He moved to the United States in 2005 to marry his wife, Vlatka. He first met her when she and her family fled to Germany from Yugoslavia during World War II. After the war, she immigrated to America rather than returning to Yugoslavia. She and Gruenewald kept in contact over the years and visited each other a few times.
Gruenewald joined her in Fort Worth in 2005 and began interviewing for chef jobs, but was told he was overqualified for the positions. He then decided to open his own restaurant, and Greenwood’s was born.
“I am independent,” he said. “I can do what I want.”
Because the restaurant is one of the few authentic German restaurants in Fort Worth, some patrons travel long distances to eat there. Most of the people who eat at Greenwood’s live in the area though. The restaurant has been experiencing an increase of younger diners recently, Gruenewald said.
Schnitzel is the most popular item on the menu, Gruenewald said. Many patrons visit the restaurants on Tuesday evenings for the schnitzel special. He recommends this dish for first timers, along with the sausage or fried potatoes.
In the future, Peter and Vlatka want to start selling their fresh baked bread, made from their own recipe. This organic wholegrain bread contains no sugar and a small amount of salt.
Gruenewald’s father was a baker, which is how he first learned about baking. All of Peter’s siblings can cook or bake.
“We all inherited [the ability to cook] from him,” he said.
Greenwood’s German and European Restaurant is located on Bluebonnet Circle. Visit http://www.greenwoodsgerman.com for hours and daily specials.