Travel Waterloo

Travel Waterloo: Episode 25 Recap

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posted on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Volks HausThis week’s episode brought us to a great downtown Waterloo establishment, Volks Haus. Hospitality is a family tradition for the Dotzlers, who own and operate Volks Haus. They’ve traced their family’s involvement in hospitality all the way back to the 1850’s in Germany. There’s a national restaurant chain that uses the phrase, “When you’re here, you’re family.” That’s not just a saying or marketing slogan at Volks Haus. Customers are part of the family, and the entire family helps operate the business. We met members of the actual family, and we met customers who are now extended family, as well during our visit.

There are a few things we learned about that we didn’t have opportunity to discuss more in this week’s episode. 

  • First, Jeannie Dotzler, the owner of Volks Haus is one of the most generous people you’ll ever meet. She has a great dry sense of humor as well. Over the years, she and her family have adopted countless families at Christmas time. She always finds little ways to help those in need, whether it is through Christmas presents or a sandwich and cup of coffee.  That generosity is something that has always been part of her life and has woven into her family’s lives as well. 
  • BootWhile we touched on the Hauntoberfest event, what you didn’t hear is that Jeannie’s famous German potato salad and brats will be served from 7-9pm on Saturday night. There are two costume contests, featuring prizes for great German and “regular” costumes. There will be live music. And there will be two stein-holding contests. While holding a liter of beer in a glass stein may seem reasonably easy, I will tell you that based on my experience, you’re probably in for a reality check. Uncle Steve and I were holding our steins for just a few minutes and you’re using muscles in a way that you don’t do on a daily basis. But you’re missing out if you don’t participate. It was a lot of fun, and I can bet that the fun Steve and I had would be multiplied many times over with more people to talk trash with, compete with and have fun with during Hauntoberfest.
  • And finally…the ghosts. I want to be clear that Volks Haus isn’t “haunted.” No one has ever been harmed, nor has anyone run out of the front door screaming. The extended Dotzler family is incredibly welcoming and hospitable. As I said before, everyone is part of their extended family. Based on the history of the building, there may be some spirits around, and they’ve been welcomed as part of what makes Volks Haus special. When we were there, I didn’t see or feel any presence. I did scare the heck out of Travis, our producer, though. But I don’t dispute that people have seen or felt a presence. We just want to be clear that Volks Haus is a safe, warm, welcoming place…not a haunted house. If you’re open to the presence of spirits (beyond the spirits behind the bar) you may want to peek in sometime, though.

CrewIf you’ve been to Volks Haus, you know that it is one of the most warm and welcoming places you’ll go to grab a drink, whether it is coffee in the morning with the regulars or a German beer in the afternoon. If you’ve not been to Volks Haus, certainly Saturday night is a great time to check it out. #IDigWaterloo because of places like Volks Haus where everyone is welcome and everyone is family.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Main Street Waterloo.

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