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“A lovely experience!”

The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room
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Ranked #4 of 362 Restaurants in Springfield
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: USD 8 - USD 28
Cuisines: American, German, Steakhouse
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Description: The landmark restaurant of Downtown Springfield with dedicated service and a German accent since 1935.
Reviewed 1 January 2018 via mobile

We took our daughter here for her 24th birthday and had such a wonderful time! Authentic German food and beer made for a great cultural experience. We started with the German pretzel, crispy Brussels sprouts and fried Camembert. All equally delicious but the pretzel is a must! Our dinners consisted of short ribs, lamb shank, schnitzel, bratwursts and goulash. The spaetzle was a delicious treat; similar to gnocchi. Because we went the week before Christmas, the restaurant was decorated beautifully and an added bonus was a group of carolers wandering through the dining rooms singing beautiful Christmas carols. They sang Happy Birthday to our daughter as our server presented her with the most delicious piece of German chocolate cake! At one point, the lights in the restaurant were turned off and the carolers sang Silent Night. The only lighting was coming from the Christmas tree in the dining room so you can image just how beautiful it was. The servers were quick, attentive and so friendly! The dining room was crowded and it was close quarters but it really made for a warm, homey atmosphere. This was an all-around wonderful experience and we thank the staff for making it a special birthday for our daughter.

Thank Sondra L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rudirup, Manager at The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, responded to this reviewResponded 1 January 2018

Sondra, Thanks for the nice review. We are glad that your daughter enjoyed her birthday and spent it with us. Our germanic soul foods taste great in cold weather. The pretzels are a wonderful way to start a meal. Our tradition of dimming the lights and singing "Silent Night" goes back about seventy years. Thanks again and we wish you a happy New Year!

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26 - 30 of 447 reviews

Reviewed 25 December 2017 via mobile

The last time I went here years ago was when you could park (and pay) at the nearby parking lot. Or, if you were lucky, find a free spot on the same street then. But within the last couple of years there were changes and updating done in that area of Springfield, which I avoided anyways and there was no other reason to go downtown (and... the upcoming casino will not be an incentive to go there either; Can’t anyone come up with a more sophisticated new place to go in downtown Springfield?? But instead, we get a casino in Western Mass. Ooh. So cheesy.)

So, then I found out the Student Prince now only has valet parking. That didn’t win me over to go back there anytime soon and I felt it wasn’t the same Student Prince that I remembered.

But I did go back just very recently during Christmas-time (while they had carolers singing) and the food and service was very good and I was nicely surprised. The valet parking wasn’t a hassle, but I still don’t prefer valet parking for regular restaurants and would prefer to park my own car. But maybe not in this area since the streets nearby are void of similar restaurants and pubs and the sides streets are not overly lit. So, it is probably why they decided to have valet as their system for parking only - it would be safer than walking from your parked car to the restaurant from the next street with zero activity. This restaurant has been around forever and the city around it has gone through many transitions and ambience. Downtown Springfield is not the same as many areas of Boston where you can feel safe walking to and fro many restaurants and bars in the trendiest places in Boston. If downtown Springfield’s restaurant and bar scene was more plentiful in a condensed area, it would be great - like many fun areas in Boston.

Back to the food.... The large German pretzel was very good and a bit different. I had the Fried Camembert Cheese again and it is one of their staple items for many years. Yum! The red cabbage side was very good also. German beer!

I will go back for a second recent time and hope my experience will be the same. But I still cringe at valet parking in general (because I can’t really inspect the car when it is being returned at that moment in the dark and I wonder how is my car being handled while it is moved to their parking spot). Nothing against the valet service at Student Prince because I “think” my car was handled properly? And the next day during the day there shouldn’t hopefully be any “unexplained” damage or things that are misplaced and then you begin to wonder the night before with valet parking.

1  Thank SUN_and_H2O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rudirup, Manager at The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, responded to this reviewResponded 26 December 2017

Thanks for the nice review. I should point out that one can still park (and pay) at the lot down the street from the restaurant or the City Parking garage a block away. We validate parking at the lot at noontime. We have had the Valet Parking (now free) for around ten years, with at times, over one hundred cars parked in an evening. With well over 100,000 cars parked, there have been two problems. One customer had mud on his car. The people from Valet Park took his car and had it washed and waxed. Another time a car was clipped by a drunk driver. The Valet company offered to make up any insurance shortfall. The casino will open in less than a year, with many differing thoughts on the results for downtown. My prediction is that it will be interesting.
I am glad that you enjoyed your meal. The fried cheese is a longtime specialty of The Student Prince and the giant pretzel is a relative newcomer to the menu a bit of an example of the changes to the establishment. Here's wishing you a great 2018 and we hope to see you on Fort Street!

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Reviewed 23 December 2017

Dropped in for lunch 3 days before Christmas. Did not realize we should have probably made reservations, but they accommodated cheerfully, The holiday decor is delightfully dated. It is very tasteful. Our waiter was Jeff was very cheerful and served us well. The giant pretzel is fantastic. Beer/cheese dip is great. I think pretzel is better. Potato pancakes are good but not the best I have ever had. They are better thinner and these are alway thick.
Blue cheese salad dressing mixed table side is delish. Bit pricey for what you get, but it is good.
Dinner Veal Shank was amazing. Cooked to perfection. We had the double cut and split it in two. It was more than enough. The kitchen was gracious enough to split it on two plates making it served perfectly.

I tasted the Jager Schnitzel. Although good mushroom sauce I have had much better.
The carrot cake was amazingly delicious.

Overall, great lunch, great server. Very good to Excellent food.
Will be back again.
Happy Holidays

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Thank Edward W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rudirup, Owner at The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, responded to this reviewResponded 24 December 2017

We are glad that you enjoyed. Maybe we can work on a potato pancake that is a bit thinner and crisper. Veal shank is a great meal ad one of our more popular specials. Thanks for the nice words and have a great 2018!!!

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Reviewed 23 December 2017

There is no restaurant in Springfield that has so much history, memories and stories intertwined in its bones and soul. Despite its near death experience a few years ago, the new Fort has sufficient DNA, preserved customs and gemutlichkeit to continue serving the community and travelers for many decades to come. I could kvetch about what is missing, different or not done as well as before, but few would listen. Those who would care are like me, denizens of the past. It may have been better "way back when...", but absent new breakthroughs in time travel, you will have to take our word for it or more likely ignore such stories as irrelevant. To see very young diners, and even families that might not have been born since we first started coming here in 1970, enjoying the food and ambiance, lifts my spirit and confirms that the baton has been well transferred. Still, I'm glad that Rudi is still around to greet us old-timers, impart some wry humor and gravitas, and perhaps pull the emergency cord if the current regime goes too far off course.

For current diners, especially during the Christmas season, the Fort can still offer some agreeable food, fine beer and wine in many varieties, and a wait staff that is very capable of making you feel welcome and well cared for. The menu has been trimmed, in some cases updated, and in some cases gone off on unfortunate tangents. But you can still zero in on some fine schnitzels, wursts, chops and fresh fish. If you are particularly lucky, one of the more veteran waiters or waitresses might even give a gentle hint to avoid some menu missteps, especially in the dessert department.

While we will have to go back to the old country for Eisbein, Head Cheese and Baumkuchen, the Sauerbraten, Geschnetzeltes and Bratwurst here are still wunderbar We will be back, as long as we can raise a stein or a wine glass. Prosit!.

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1  Thank ulysses4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rudirup, Manager at The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, responded to this reviewResponded 24 December 2017

Thanks for the nice review. Many of the eliminated menu items were no economically justified. The Eisbein (corned boiled pork shank) was delicious, but not appealing to those born in the last forty years. Prior to the sale , items such as veal kidneys and honeycomb tripe had disappeared from our kitchen. We are aware of the deficiencies in the dessert list and will be working to improve it in the coming year. It is still wonderful to see families with long lasting relations on fort Street returning during the Christmas celebrations. The new ownership is working to keep improving and making evolutionary, rather than revolutionary changes. Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

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Reviewed 22 December 2017

The food here is excellent. The restaurant decor is beautiful. Some friends and I went during Caroling Season for a celebration. We had a 6:30 reservation and waited 45 minutes for our table. The table we were seated at was all they had at the time and it was way too tiny for the 7 of us. It took awhile for our waiter to acknowledge us and during his service, he was quite rude. We waited much too long for someone to clear our table completely, refill water and bring a check. When we did mention that we did not appreciate waiting yet again for service he was out of line rude. I approached the manager with my concern and after she reassured me she would compensate our bill she never reappeared again. The food was great - the experience was not.

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1  Thank Ham64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bill P, General Manager at The Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, responded to this reviewResponded 24 December 2017

Ham64,
Apologies for your experinece, it's a very busy season here at the Fort, we try not to turn
anyone away who enjoy a Student Prince Holiday tradition. I think most folks are used to how busy we are during this time, after all some have been coming here for 60 years. Once again my apologies perhaps you can try us again soon.
Regards,
Bill Porter

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