Schnitzel and rotkohl (cooked red cabbage). Photo by Todd Cooper.

Holy Schnitzel!

German eatery Pig and Turnip goes brick and mortar and expands its menu

It’s a typical restaurant lull between lunch and dinner at Pig and Turnip, and there’s the sound of pounding in the restaurant’s kitchen. No, the kitchen isn’t a construction site, nor is it the setting of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart.” The person in the kitchen is preparing cuts of meat for its schnitzel, a testament to Pig and Turnip’s dedication to making food “in the traditional ways,” says owner Natalie Sheild. 

Pig and Turnip is Eugene’s newest German restaurant. It made its brick and mortar debut in June, moving to a location on Franklin Boulevard. The move means it now offers a larger menu of its German fare. 

In 2015, Pig and Turnip started as a food cart in the Whiteaker neighborhood, and the next year it moved into Sprout, a kitchen incubator program at Public House in Springfield, Sheild says. She asked customers what kind of menu they wanted to see, and many demanded German food. 

Pig and Turnip stayed at Sprout for six years, and in June 2022, Sheild opened across the street from the University of Oregon. 

German food isn’t popular on the West Coast, and there aren’t many restaurants dedicated to the cuisine, Sheild says, which is surprising to her because it’s meat and potatoes comfort food. But the restaurant has fun with German food and adds some American twists to it, she says. It has burgers, Reuben sandwiches and even schnitzel and waffles. 

A self-trained chef, she says that she worked out many of the recipes through trial and error. Heeding the words of a chef she once worked for, Sheild learned that to be good at cooking, you have to eat a lot of food. And what she finds fascinating about German food is that it isn’t singular — it varies depending on region. That offers her some latitude to work as a German restaurant and explore various regional foods, she adds. 


Pig and Turnip owner Natalie Sheild carries a plate of schnitzel and rotkohl. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Sheild stays true to some German traditions, like the Bavarian pretzel. The pretzel is handmade and hand twisted, she says. “As someone who loves pretzels and has eaten them all over Germany, it’s the best pretzel I’ve had stateside,” she says. 

Moving into the new space means Sheild could expand the restaurant menu, but opening a restaurant as global markets are disrupted has complicated business operations, putting some of those expansions on the backburner for now. 

It took almost a year for Pig and Turnip’s walk-in refrigerator to arrive, and it now awaits installation, Sheild says. When the walk-in is installed, the restaurant will have space to add more time-intensive specials such as sauerbraten to its menu. “It’s a delicious brisket that gets brined for a week, and then you slow cook it and then use the drippings from the brisket to make a gingersnap gravy,” Sheild says. “It’s so yummy, but it takes space.” 

The restaurant makes most of its food in-house from scratch, including sausages. And the sausage making is actually interesting. Rather than using leftover meat parts, Sheild says she buys high-quality pork belly and shoulder from Carlton Farms in Yamhill County. The kitchen then adds spices and seasonings and then wraps them with natural casing, she says. “No preservatives, no funky meats, no weird pig tails or anything like that,” she says. 

Although Sheild has a lot of plans for future menu expansions, such as weekend brunch and adding to its sausage lineup, the schnitzel is the restaurant’s most popular item. It is breaded and fried with two options of meat (and a vegetable): pork, chicken and eggplant. 

Pig and Turnip doesn’t shy away from large portions. An order of the chicken schnitzel features three large filets, and each bite is filled with crunchy breading and tender meat. The schnitzel comes with a lemon whole-grain mustard aioli, but the schnitzel’s breading has so much spices and flavor to it that sauce isn’t needed. 

The potato salad, which comes as a side at Pig and Turnip, is an example of the flavors often found in German food. The recipe varies by region, but the restaurant’s German potato salad has a sweet and tangy vinaigrette, along with some mustard seeds. And one of the biggest differences compared to the type of potato salads you’ll usually find at a picnic is that it’s served warm, a signature of German food. 

“Hot dishes are really important to German cuisine,” Sheild says. “That’s where you get the sauerkraut, that’s where you get pickled veggies.”

The pickled aspect of the cuisine is sometimes what turns people off of the food, but Sheild has a way to convert families to trying German meals. She says Pig and Turnip offers a family boxed meal that has four large portions with a variety of entrees and sides, including schnitzel, a “burgermeister” (a burger on a pretzel bun), bratwursts and pretzels. Of course, you don’t have to share it with your family. “I have a friend who told me, ‘I will just buy a family meal and eat them all myself,’” she laughs.

Pig and Turnip is at 1861 Franklin Boulevard. Hours are 11 am to 11 pm daily. Visit for more information about the family meal and Thanksgiving box.