A Restaurant in Walburg serves up fun and food for all ages


Outside in the biergarten of Dale’s Essenhaus, a bright-eyed kid belts out almost every word of her favorite Carrie Underwood song. It’s her first performance at karaoke night. Her parents perch on a nearby picnic table, encouraging her as the sun sets in the evening sky. Across the way, she spots her neighbors enjoying their long-standing weekly date night. They exchange inside jokes, sample dark German brews, and wait eagerly to split a “Walburger.” The young girl wraps up her solo and joins her lively extended family inside as they shuffle through rounds of musical chairs, swapping seats, reminiscing about times past, and sharing new stories.

Nestled in the small, tight-knit community of Walburg, Dale’s Essenhaus is a charming escape from the city. It’s relaxed yet lively, familiar yet novel. Literally translated “Dale’s Eating House,” the restaurant was inspired by a German-themed restaurant that owner Dale Cockerell once visited in Ohio. Over the past 15 years, the home-style menu of hamburgers, catfish, and meatloaf has grown to include German entrees, including schnitzel and the occasional traditional German dessert. But according to manager Bonnie Warwick, “People know us for the Walburger,” the essential component of Dale’s classic home-style menu—a half-pound of impeccably seasoned, fresh ground beef topped with grilled onions and veggies, all balanced perfectly on a toasted bun.

While the restaurant is famous for its burgers, it also takes great pride in its family-friendly atmosphere. Dale says, “I’ve seen parents bring kids out here that have never seen a cow—a live cow. A lot of city kids don’t get that experience.” On weekends, families of all ages can be found two-stepping around the outdoor stage, swaying along to the live music of a local band. On Thursdays, enthusiastic amateurs take the stage, singing along to their favorite karaoke tracks. From the beginning, Dale envisioned “a place where people could come out and bring their kids, and meet up with their other friends with kids, and let their kids play and be safe.”

Hidden in the back of the biergarten, surrounded by a canopy of huge, majestically lit live  oaks, sits Bert Stuewe Hall, a banquet hall perfect for any event. It can be rented for weddings, graduations, reunions, or any gathering of families and friends. With seating for up to 300, you can choose from a menu of anything from traditional Texas barbeque to rib eye steaks. It’s truly a place where your dreams can become memories.

At Dale’s Essenhaus, it’s easy to forget that Interstate 35 is buzzing just five miles away. Dale admits, “I never thought there’d be this much business in Walburg, but I was wrong. People like to get out of town.” Moreover, people like Dale. They appreciate how he has created a place for families to share good times and make memories.

For directions to Dale’s Essenhaus and information about upcoming events, visit www.dales-essenhaus.com.

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