Herb Niemann’s Steak and Schnitzel House in Everson: serving quality aged steaks for nearly half a century

People moving to Whatcom County from the Midwest often complain that there are no quality steaks here in the land of seafood, vegan menus and taco trucks.

If you’re one of those people, you haven’t found Herb Niemann’s Steak and Schnitzel House yet. This is your ray of hope. Best of all, it’s an old-school steakhouse nestled at the base of the Cascades.

Herb Niemann’s has a loyal base of followers on Main Street in Everson. Wow your darling with a gorgeous country road that ends at Herb’s. Photo credit: Jessica Hamilton

Take a scenic 30-minute drive north through raspberry fields and manicured vintage farmhouses and you’ll reach Herb Niemann’s on Main Street in Everson. It’s the perfect place for a special night out.

The bar’s atmosphere is warm and inviting with exposed brick walls and a large, colorful stained glass window above the black-hewn bar. A German theme runs through this century-old building, with heavy wooden beams, dark, romantic seating, and a large grand fireplace visible from all four sides. A wine cellar houses an excellent selection of wines and a display case allows diners to watch the chef cut their steaks.

“All of our beef is Herford from Nebraska,” says Angel Goering, owner of Herb Niemann’s Steak and Schnitzel House. By the time huge prime ribs are served to guests, they have aged “between 28 and 35 days”.

Chef John Vance and his apprentice Ed. Photo courtesy: Herb Niemann’s Steak and Schnitzel House

Aging steaks create tender cuts by breaking down the collagen in the meat. It also evaporates the water inside, resulting in a concentrated flavor.

John Vance is the head chef and he lovingly cuts each steak by hand. “It’s labor-intensive,” says Goering. “They definitely had long days.”

Goering is very appreciative of Vance and the work he does. She is proud to have him on her team. “It’s really hard to find someone who can cut steaks the right way,” she says. “It’s one thing to break down a fish, but breaking down a side of beef is tricky. Watching him do it is like watching a surgical operation. I don’t think people realize how involved that is.

A Bavarian theme runs through Herb’s kitchen and décor. Photo credit: Jessica Hamilton

Vance has been cooking for 28 years. “I learned from my father and my mother. She’s Filipina and my dad was a farm boy from Iowa,” Vance explains. “I grew up on a small 20-acre farm and had to do all the butchering; I cut chicken and beef.

At Herb’s, New York Strips, Tenderloins and Rib Eyes are all cut to order. “You don’t want to cut them in advance, otherwise it dries them out,” says Goering.

Everything is homemade, including their own spätzle. “They prepare the dough, put it in a press and press it by hand into boiling water,” says Goering.

An arched door brick wine cellar keeps bottles of wine at the perfect temperature. Photo credit: Jessica Hamilton

Beef trimmings are ground into burgers and pork trimmings into bratwurst. Salad dressings, desserts, soups, sauces, even the Texas toast is homemade. “The only thing we don’t make is our jalapeño poppers,” says Goering.

She’s a Kansas girl originally, and her father owned a steakhouse while she was growing up; she worked as a waiter. When Goering moved to Everson, she owned a commercial construction cleaning business.

“When the economy crashed, I didn’t have a job,” she says. “All of our contracts ended, so I went back into the restaurant business.”

She found a job serving tables at Herb Niemann and eventually became a manager.

A dining room at Herb Niemann awaits Christmas guests. Photo credit: Meaghan Flesch

“My father died suddenly about nine years ago,” she says. His father was young and it was a shock. “He left me some money, but I didn’t know what to do with it because it wasn’t really my money. So I just put it in an account and left it there.

Five years later, Herb Niemann decides to sell the restaurant. Goering felt it made sense for her to follow in her father’s footsteps and purchase it with his inheritance.

“When my dad came to visit, he wanted to eat here because he loved steak,” says Goering. “It’s kind of cool, that I know he loved this place and it was one of his favorites.”

She bought the restaurant four years ago and hasn’t changed anything except to add daily specials and some seafood dishes.

Goering loves living in Everson, and she is thrilled to throw family parties for the locals again and again. She has worked at Herb Niemann for so long that she now sees longtime guests bringing their children.

“We have a very loyal clientele who have been coming here for many years,” she smiles. “We can’t change it because they want what they’re used to, and you don’t want to play with it.”

Steak and schnitzel from Herb Niemann
203 Main Street West in Everson
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 5:00 p.m. to closing

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Dino S. Williams