Wienerschnitzel is coming. Here’s the opening date
Pierce County’s first Wienerschnitzel is opening Sept. 24 in Fife at 5156 Pacific Hwy E. The national hot dog chain is known for its long list of hot dogs and Tastee-Freez soft serve ice cream. Update: the restaurant delayed the opening by a day. The opening will be tomorrow (Sept. 25). From franchise owner Domenic Baker, “We pushed it back a day to make sure we were ready. Make sure to relay to your readers that we are very sorry for the inconvenience, and we are trying to make sure we are as ready as possible! Also we will be opening just drive thru and we will be keeping front lobby closed until further notice.”
In the 1970s, you might have encountered a Wienerschnitzel, which were as distinctive then as they are now for their buildings painted mustard yellow and ketchup red.
The Wienerschnitzels of yesteryear were built in A-frame style buildings. Today’s Wienerschnitzels come in a broader range of architecture. The Fife location is built into a former KFC/A&W location.
The California-founded chain is a mid-20th century invention. It originally opened as Der Wienerschnitzel, but dropped the Der about 50 years ago.
THE MENU AT WIENERSCHNITZEL
The name is a bit of a misnomer. The chain does not serve wienerschnitzel, the German dish of a breaded meat cutlet.
Rather, Wienerschnitzel is all about the hot dogs, chili dogs and corn dogs. The lengthy menu includes a Chicago dog, a bacon dog, ‘kraut dog, chili cheese dog and the chain’s famous junkyard dog. Burgers and chicken sandwiches round out the menu, but it’s the hot dogs that have a starring role on the menu.
The Fife Wienerschnitzel menu will follow the same format as the national chain, said franchise owner Domenic Baker.
Diners can select from three different wieners for whichever hot dog is ordered from the menu. “Each style (toppings) of hotdog can come with our world famous original, all-beef (100% beef and nearly twice the size of the originals) and the Polish sausage,” said Baker.
Tastee-Freez, the soft serve ice cream is also served at Wienerschnitzels (Tastee-Freez is also a separate branded chain of restaurants, but the two chains share ownership). Expect to see cones, sundaes, shakes, splits and floats on the menu.
WIENERSCHNITZEL IN TACOMA
When I say that the county is getting its first Wienerschnitzel, I mean it’s the first for the modern era. I asked Baker about the Wienerschnitzel that once operated in the late 1970s in Tacoma on Sixth Avenue. Tacoma Public Library’s Tacoma-Pierce County Buildings Index lists a Tacoma Wienerschnitzel at 6330 Sixth Ave.
“Everett was the first location in Washington in 1969,” said Baker. That location still operates.
Baker added about the Tacoma location, “My records don’t go back that far.”
Locals do remember that Tacoma Wienerschnitzel, however. The building later became an Arby’s – and might have had a life as a Rax roast beef restaurant in between – and now is a Starbucks.
Margaret Caple Demick recalled on my Facebook page, “I remember the Sixth Avenue one. I think it was past Highland Hill going west. But could be wrong.”
Kathleen O’Keefe Kamp was quick to confirm, “You are not wrong. It was on the left side across from Tower Lanes. I loved that place.”
Location: 5156 Pacific Hwy E., Fife
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