A classy potato bar? How about a classy vegan and vegetarian potato bar? Yes, such a thing does exist! And it exists in the small city of Lubeck in northeastern Germany.
When I think of potato bars, I have this mental image of a dried out, tasteless white potato topped with butter, beef chili, shredded cheese, a hefty helping of sour cream, and maybe a garnish of chopped chives. Not so pretty or heathly, huh?
Lubeck, a UNESCO World Heritage city located about 2.5 hours by train from Berlin, is traditionally known for its marzipan and historic city center. Just down the street from Niederegger, the marzipan headquarters of Lubeck, you’ll find Erdapfel. This is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant specializes in baked potatoes topped, offering a wide variety of interesting toppings including everything from tandoori sauce, chickpeas, lentils, and red onion (pictured below) to bulgar, fresh greens, and sesame-honey sauce. If you’re not feeling one of the suggested potato concoctions on the menu, you’re more than welcome to “make your own,” choosing from the 20 or so fresh toppings right in front of you.
Given my somewhat unfavorable impressions of potato bars, I was surprised to discover that I thoroughly enjoyed Erdapfel’s potatoes. They were piping hot, moist, and full of flavor. I couldn’t finish my entire potato, but I made sure to at least finish the potato skin. It was absolutely delicious! As an added bonus, the skin is rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and iron.
My husband enjoyed this Mexican-inspired potato (below). You can barely see the potato due to the mound of delicious toppings: mashed tempeh, chickpeas, fresh tomato, salsa, roasted corn, and baked tortilla chips.
Erdapfel’s owner kindly welcomed us, letting us know how the menu worked and giving us some excellent recommendations. When he saw us photographing our food, he ran over, jokingly exclaiming, “Stop playing with your food! You must eat it while it’s hot and fresh!” We went on a weeknight and sat outside with a number of others who were clearly enjoying the food. Had our stay in Lubeck been longer, we would have certainly returned to Erdapfel for a second round of potatoes!