Choosing to study abroad can be one of the most influential decisions a student makes in his or her college career. For Lydia Melton, a semester in Europe changed her life forever. After spending a semester in Brussels, Belgium, Melton was inspired to bring an especially memorable aspect of the city back to Missouri with her: the food and drink.
Thus began Gunter Hans, a European Pub and Cafe, located on Hitt Street in downtown Columbia. The eatery features foreign drinks and dishes, from a chilled Weihenstephan draft to a warm, soft bretzel dipped in cheese that melts in your mouth.
Each day and night, you can find 13 rare and unique beers on tap; the options are constantly rotating. If you’re someone who likes to stick to the classics and may be reluctant to try something new - never fear. Gunter Hans lets you sample their selection before you commit to one you love. Wine lovers can also rejoice, as they also feature Columbia’s only full wine tap system. This way, each glass of wine tastes like the first sip out of a newly opened bottle.
Although Gunter Hans primarily focuses on the expansion of their drink menu, you can’t go wrong with any item on their simple food menu. A personal favorite: fresh waffles with unlimited toppings (think: homemade cinnamon butter, fruit preserves, caramel syrup, and so much more.)
The atmosphere at Gunter Hans is unmatched. Dark wood, rustic chandeliers, and exposed brick create a Northern European ambiance. The pub also features two separate patio areas. The exterior patio is topped by European flags and a pergola, and is surrounded by bright buckets of flowers. The interior patio area becomes magical in the evenings, as twinkling lights and music set the mood for any event: from a birthday gathering to a night catching up with friends.
The gist? Gunter Hans is truly a one of a kind find in Mid-Missouri. For anyone wanting a taste of Europe, this is the closest you’ll get without having to buy a plane ticket.
Lydia Melton, founder and owner of Gunter Hans
Q: Describe Gunter Hans’ inception, how did you get your start?
A: I lived in Belgium for a semester, and I really really loved it. I loved the food over there, I loved the drinks. It’s so different than what we have here, in that it’s actually real food, it’s crazy. And the beer is really good, too, of course. My thought was that I wanted to bring all these things that I found that we didn’t have back here in the States, to Columbia. And now here, we are!
Q: Regarding the members-only passport club, when will your rare beers be coming?
A: It’s here! We switch it all the time. We try to keep it fresh, like every two weeks we’ll put something up for [the members], so we’re always getting something new.
Q: How do you select your distributors or what types of beer you carry?
A: Really, it’s a lot of customer requests. Like, what do they like, or what did they have abroad that they want to see here.
Q: What’s your favorite beer and food combination?
A: Ooh, that’s a loaded question! I’m a really big fan of our Bretzels - they’re very delicious.
Q: What type of events do you typically host here?
A: We do a lot of beer-related events, but we do events that are really out of the ordinary, that you’re just not going to find up the street. That’s our MO as a company, and really what we try to do.
Q: How do you make your slogan “Visit Europe without the passport” a reality for your customers?A: They’ve just got to come and see for themselves!