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Schwabl's

789 Center Rd., Buffalo, NY - (716) 674-9821
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/10/2008 11:41:00 PM
Buffalo’s best-known culinary attraction is chicken wings, which now are available almost everywhere. Its other passion, beef on weck, can be found almost nowhere else. Among the reasons beef on weck hasn’t traveled is that the buns are hard to bake and virtually impossible to keep for any length of time; and to cook and carve the beef requires a level of expertise that can’t be learned overnight.

The exquisite appeal of this sandwich is best understood at a family-owned tavern called Schwabl’s. Here, the hard rolls are heavily crusted with coarse grains of salt and infused with caraway seeds (a.k.a. kummelweck; hence the sandwich's name), fluffy inside, yet rugged enough to hold up well when sliced in half and dipped in natural beef gravy. Schwabl's beef is superb: thin, rare slices severed from a center-cut round roast just before the sandwich is assembled. It is piled high inside each sandwich, a tender and luxurious pillow of protein. The only thing this sandwich could possibly want is a dab of horseradish, which is supplied on each table and along the bar.

That is all you need to know about Schwabl's, except for the nice hot ham sandwich on white bread in a pool of tomato-clove gravy, served with warm potato salad. The ham is an interesting alternative to the beef; although it has none of the famous local sandwich's authority.

Schwabl's is a casual, well-aged beef house, attended by business people at noon and families at suppertime. We Cater to Nice Homey Family Trade, the menu announces; and a dry, non-alcoholic birch beer with the faint twang of spearmint is always available on draught. Waitresses are fast and professional, outfitted in nurse-like uniforms, and refreshingly blunt. "You don't want the haddock," one advised us at the beginning of a recent Friday night meal; and by golly, she was right. Beef is what you want at Schwabl's, beef on weck.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
beef on weck
Hot Ham Sandwich
Hot Roast Beef Sandwich
German Potato Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A Schwabl's beef on weck sandwich: quintessential Buffalo
"A Schwabl's beef on weck sandwich: quintessential Buffalo"
Stephen Rushmore





A close view of beef on weck shows the character of the roll: salty, tender, able to absorb plenty of good beef juice.
"A close view of beef on weck shows the character of the roll: salty, tender, able to absorb plenty of good beef juice."
Michael Stern


Schwabl's version of poutine includes slivers of tender roast beef, cheese curds, roast beef gravy, crinkle cut fries, all topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds.
"Schwabl's version of poutine includes slivers of tender roast beef, cheese curds, roast beef gravy, crinkle cut fries, all topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds."
Cliff Strutz


There is a powerful scent of cloves from the tomatoey sauce on the delicious hot ham sandwich.
"There is a powerful scent of cloves from the tomatoey sauce on the delicious hot ham sandwich."
Cliff Strutz


Heavy on the vinegar, this is excellent cole slaw!
"Heavy on the vinegar, this is excellent cole slaw!"
Cliff Strutz


The beef on weck sandwiches come conveniently cut in half.  I asked for my roast beef 'medium' and it came out with just the right amount of pink.
"The beef on weck sandwiches come conveniently cut in half. I asked for my roast beef 'medium' and it came out with just the right amount of pink."
Cliff Strutz


Schwabl's mild German potato salad is the perfect side for their beef on weck sandwiches.
"Schwabl's mild German potato salad is the perfect side for their beef on weck sandwiches."
Cliff Strutz


The Schwabl name has meant good food in the Buffalo area since 1837, when Ray Schwabl's great-grandfather, a brewmaster, began selling hot meals to go with the beer he made.
"The Schwabl name has meant good food in the Buffalo area since 1837, when Ray Schwabl's great-grandfather, a brewmaster, began selling hot meals to go with the beer he made."
Michael Stern


Recently, long time employee Cheryl Staychok and her husband Gene bought the famous beef house from the Schwabl family with plans to keep it exactly as it's been.
"Recently, long time employee Cheryl Staychok and her husband Gene bought the famous beef house from the Schwabl family with plans to keep it exactly as it's been."
Michael Stern



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