Even in the Face of Adversity, Bratwurst Prevails

Photo by Amy Zimmer

With its iconic facade obscured by Second Avenue Subway construction and chain stores mushrooming all around, the future was not looking particularly bright for the Upper East Side German deli Schaller & Weber, which has served up its bratwurst and weiners for over 75 years on 2nd Avenue at 88th Street.

But the growing popularity of German-style beer halls, coupled with a new reverence for artisanal foods, has rejuvenated demand for the authentically German meat products that the deli prepares in the Yorkville neighborhood, DNAinfo reported.

The community group Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts recently awarded the deli its “good neighbor” award, to celebrate the deli’s success and to commemorate the area’s history as an enclave of tenements housing German immigrants.

Photo by Amy Zimmer

Schaller & Weber “stands alone, a monument to a lost and magical time in our city’s history, because it never gave up  and easily incorporated itself into Yorkville’s new diverse population,” Yorkville historian Kathy Jolowicz said at the award ceremony.

“When the Second Avenue subway threatened its demise, its heritage prevailed and it was saved,” Jolowicz said.

Plus, as she told DNAinfo, “Germans will go anywhere to get their food. They’ll climb mountains for their sauerkraut.”

It may not be a mountain, but at least one customer said the shop is worth a cross-borough trek.

Stefan Zucker, 65, who lives in the Bronx and has been shopping at the store since he was a “little boy,” now buys its meats for his children.

“I’m really glad they’re here despite the Second Avenue subway construction,” Zucker said. “It’s a lot of memories. All these wursts are a reminder of home when I was a kid.”

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