At Bo's Schnitzelbunker in Pewaukee, a German native serves a taste of home

Mat Myga outside his new walk-up restaurant, Bo's Schnitzelbunker in Pewaukee. It sells three kinds of schnitzel sandwiches, pork, chicken or eggplant.
Mat Myga outside his new walk-up restaurant, Bo's Schnitzelbunker in Pewaukee. It sells three kinds of schnitzel sandwiches, pork, chicken or eggplant.

Sometimes, the random hand of fate deals you joy in the form of schnitzel sandwiches. Here's how:

Mathaeus (Mat) Myga, who was born in Poland, raised from infancy in Germany and lived in Canada, Dubai and California, was living in Wisconsin and helping out a friend running a camp in Wautoma in 2019. Would Myga like to try cooking for campers? Sure. He made schnitzel sandwiches, to rave reviews.

One camper "kind of closed her eyes" and told him, "I literally visualized my grandma in front of me."

"This is what I feel like," Myga said, remembering that reaction. "This is why sometimes I crave a little bit of ketchup," seasoned like the ketchup served on currywurst in Germany.

In early January, Myga opened Bo's Schnitzelbunker in Pewaukee. It's a takeout spot with a walk-up window at 145 Park Ave., serving schnitzel sandwiches — what he calls German street food.

It's modeled after the casual German imbiss restaurants, snack shops that might have some seating outside, but the food's meant to be taken away.

He's starting small, but Myga is thinking big. He wants schnitzel sandwiches to be as typical here as burgers or tacos.

"I want to reach a broader audience," he said. "I want them to know what schnitzel is."

Bo's Schnitzelbunker, named for Myga's mom, serves three kinds of schnitzel on crusty rolls: pork, chicken or eggplant.

The chicken schnitzel from Bo's Schnitzelbunker, served on a crusty roll with lettuce and the spicy house ketchup. Meals come with dill potato salad or spicy waffle fries and German-style slaw.
The chicken schnitzel from Bo's Schnitzelbunker, served on a crusty roll with lettuce and the spicy house ketchup. Meals come with dill potato salad or spicy waffle fries and German-style slaw.

Rather than being pounded extremely thin like some schnitzels are, the pork and chicken are juicy thicker cutlets, which makes for a better meat-to-bun ratio.

Schnitzel typically is seasoned only with salt and pepper, much plainer than the sandwiches Myga sells.

His are robustly seasoned, times two — in both the schnitzel breading and the ketchup on the sandwich.

"That’s the Schnitzelbunker effect," Myga said.

His breading recipe is from his mother, who worked for a now-closed German spice company and re-created the breadcrumb seasoning blend for him. Myga said he uses at least six spices to give the ketchup its zest.

Sandwiches, which also are topped with shredded lettuce, start at $8 (they can be ordered with a double portion of meat or eggplant), and a meal is $12.50, which includes either spicy waffle fries or a cooling potato salad, made with red potatoes, sour cream and dill. The potato salad is another family recipe, courtesy of Myga's cousin's wife.

Meals also come with shredded cabbage with lemon and seasoning; it's more like German krautsalat than typical American-style coleslaw. Chicken or pork tenders start at $10, or $9 for a children's meal.

Back when he started making his schnitzel sandwiches at the summer camp in Wautoma, one of Myga's first thoughts about the campers' reactions was, "Isn’t someone doing that already," selling schnitzel sandwiches?

"I keep forgetting I’m not in Germany," he said, partly because so many around him are of German heritage.

But, he said, many German-Americans he meets have never had schnitzel. Or, with the declining number of German restaurants, they can't find schnitzel close to home when they dine out.

He'd been working on starting a food truck when the opportunity in Pewaukee presented itself. Myga and his friend and now business partner Raul Romo, a chef, constructed the space in the building, which houses two other businesses, and work together at the restaurant.

Myga is planning pop-ups, and he imagines opening more Schnitzelbunkers someday. "I feel like there’s more potential" with so many Germans in Wisconsin, he said, including an eventual location in Milwaukee.

For now, though, there's the new Pewaukee location. Hours at the walk-up window are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Sunday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.

Customers who order at the window or in advance at schnitzelbunker.com can opt to have their food brought to them in their cars at curbside.

The Park Avenue location is close to the shores of Pewaukee Lake, and Myga is already thinking of summer, when he plans to put some tables and chairs outside the restaurant.

"People can go to the beach, walk over to get a sandwich, and go back to the beach," he said.

More:Restaurants that opened in the Milwaukee area in 2022

Sign up for our Dish newsletter to get food and dining news delivered to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bo's Schnitzelbunker in Pewaukee: German native serves a taste of home