Posts Tagged ‘German restaurants in New York City’

“New York’s most famous Bavarian Restaurant”

June 9, 2009

Well, maybe it used to be. Original Maxl’s served up old-fashioned heavy-on-the-beer-and-schnitzel fare on East 86th Street, when this was the main drag of German Yorkville. 

I’m not sure when it opened and can’t find anything pinpointing when it closed, but I don’t recall ever seeing a cabin-like facade on 86th Street. I’m pretty sure it’s a high-rise now.

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A restaurant guide published in 1931, Dining in New York, has this account:

“Don’t even think of missing Maxl’s. It is a restaurant, a night club, an experience all rolled up in one and seasoned with frequent renditions of ‘Schnitzelbank.’ From the outside, Maxl’s is a peaceful German cottage, vine-hung, cozy, and inviting. The inside is something else again.

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“There is a stringy three-piece orchestra, which stops every other moment to drink and sing a toast to each newcomer—an orchestra with a temperamental leader, who insists on grinding out well-known German ditties and resents all verbal college-boy intrusions. . . .

“. . . and there is ‘Happy,’ a 300-pound play-boy who, dressed up in knee pads and alpine hat reminiscent of a Swiss yodeler, knows all the words of all the songs.”

Legendary Lüchow’s on East 14th Street

January 23, 2009

I’m not aware of any New York City eatery with an umlaut in its name. But for a century, there was Lüchow’s—the German restaurant that served wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and other old-world, heavy-duty delicacies since 1882.

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Lüchow’s opened when Union Square was New York’s theater and music hall district. It consisted of seven separate dining rooms, a beer garden, a bar, and a men’s grill. One room was lined with animal heads; another displayed a collection of beer steins. Must have been a serious dining experience.

Of course, when the city’s fortunes turned in the 1970s, so did Lüchow’s. The restaurant shut its doors for good after a mysterious 1982 fire. It’s now the site of a New York University dormitory.

Check out this review from Knife and Fork in New York, a 1949 guide to the city’s best eateries:

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