Speaking in strictly geographical terms, the Bavarian capital of Munich is located about 5,000 miles from Puerto Rico. But in the mountain town of Morovis, the distance is shorter than a bratwurst thanks to Casa Bavaria, a little slice of Germany in the heart of Puerto Rico.
German couple Mike and Martina López Bolik opened Casa Bavaria in 1996. Born in Nuremberg to a German mother and a Puerto Rican father, Mike first traveled to the island when he was 18 years old to meet his father. He instantly fell in love with Puerto Rico’s beauty and the kindness of its people, particularly in the mountainous heart of the island. After marrying Martina Linke in 1983, the couple moved to the town of Orocovis, where they welcomed their first son Michael. They returned to Germany in 1986, where their daughter Julia Désirée was born, but the Island of Enchantment beckoned and the family of four decided to make it their permanent home in 1994.
Enamored by the sweeping views of the Cordillera Central mountain range that stretch all the way to the island’s northern coast, Mike and Martina chose a site on PR-155 just outside downtown Morovis for Casa Bavaria. The restaurant can accommodate close to 300 people in its open-air and indoor dining rooms.
Providing a unique mix of Teutonic treats and Puerto Rican delights as authentic as the López Bolik’s family roots, this tropical biergarten has successfully brought Germany closer to the Caribbean and vice versa. You’d be hard-pressed to find many other places that serve schnitzel (breaded cutlet), kassler (salted and smoked pork), brot knödel, (bread dumplings) spätzle (German-style egg noodles) and sauerkraut alongside mofongo (mashed plantains), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), tostones (plantain fritters) and yuquitas fritas (cassava fries).
And there’s no better time to visit this restaurant than October, when you can enjoy the traditional Oktoberfest celebration. Now entering its 16th consecutive edition, Casa Bavaria’s Oktoberfest celebrations are held on three consecutive weekends (Thursday to Sunday) October 4-21. The festival features music, food and, naturally, plenty of beer.
Imported directly from Germany, the band Polka Meister will be providing the festival’s dance music of choice for Casa Bavaria’s Oktoberfest. Local reggae, salsa, Latin jazz and rock en español groups like Gomba Jahbari, Delirio, Abuelo Mundo, Sunset Jam, El Proyecto de Abcir, Los Feos and Blú Bamboo will be sharing the stage with Polka Meister throughout the festival. For a complete itinerary and more details about the festivity, visit casabavaria.com.
When you visit Puerto Rico in October, don’t forget to pack your lederhosen and your favorite beer stein along with your swimsuit and sunglasses, and enjoy Oktoberfest with a Puerto Rican twist. Prost and salud!