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Schwabl's

789 Center Rd., Buffalo, NY - (716) 674-9821
Posted By Michael Stern on September 10, 2008 11:41 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.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
beef on weck
Hot Roast Beef Sandwich
Hot Ham Sandwich
German Potato Salad

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Posted By BRIAN LOCK on January 4, 2013 1:13 PM
I cannot believe that I am 55 years old and have never been here. I have always heard of Schwabl's but just never made it. I stopped in on January 2, 2013 and am glad that I did.

I can still taste this sandwich two days later; in my opinion it was that good. The horseradish had just enough bite to it. I also had a Tom and Jerry, which was an awesome drink. Although the sandwich at 12 bucks, and one drink at 7 bucks, were kind of pricey, I will surely come back for more of this. The people that were working there that day about noontime were very nice and friendly too.
4 star rating
Overall Rating
beef on weck

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Posted By Jerry Ludwig on August 3, 2012 7:20 PM
I have been there many times while it was still in "the family." Ate there on July 26 and all was the same EXCEPT the too chewy roast beef, which was sliced thicker and had more gristle. Sad, but true. The rolls, German potato salad, etc. were fine. I feel they have cut back on the quality of meat. We may try again but, as of July, Schwabl's is, sadly, not worth the 70 mile drive.
2 star rating
Overall Rating
German Potato Salad
beef on weck

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Posted By Mark Philippbar on July 24, 2012 9:29 PM
I've been to Schwabl's three times since I've read the review of this restaurant. The reviews don't do it justice. This place is terrific. They have homemade soups everyday that are fantastic. Their beef on weck is great and their hot roast beef au jus is terrific. I could eat here everyday.
0 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Ron Black on March 17, 2012 9:03 PM
Absolutely outstanding hand carved beef on "weck", a roll with salt and caraway seeds on top. Sometimes they don't have the exact temperature beef you prefer (medium versus rare, etc.), but don't worry, any temperature is perfect and you won't be disappointed. It is, however, a very simple place, so don't expect Parisian opulence.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
beef on weck
German Potato Salad

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Posted By Jane Jackson on April 2, 2011 5:49 PM
My traveling companion had heard about Schwabl's from a Food Network show. She and her husband went and loved it. So when we planned our road trip to Buffalo for shopping and eating (not necessarily in that order), Schwabl's was at the top of our list. However, we decided to wait until our last lunch to try it. It was definitely worth the wait and worth the visit. A lady in the Eden Kazoo Museum told us it was the only place her family would go for roast beef, and I can understand why!

We were warmly welcomed upon entering the restaurant, which set the tone for our visit. Having had enough salt and bread in previous days, I went with the roast beef on bread special, and it was immense! Had the pickled beets and the German potato palad with it; good decision. My friend had the beef on weck, and was really impressed with the kimmelweck bun: there was enough salt and caraway seeds, the outside was crispy but the bun was soft and delicious. She was really happy with the sandwich.

There was a good inch-plus of thinly sliced beef on the bread. It was more well-done by the time we got there, and I would normally have ordered it rarer. However, it was so moist and tender and delicious that it didn't matter. The gravy was so amazing: pure, rich beef flavor. It almost didn't need the horseradish (which I did find to be on the hot side).

The German potato salad was amazing, tangy but not too sharp, with one taste treat after another. The bacon was present, but not overpowering. I had been told that it was worth the trip in itself, and I agree. Wonderful! I love pickled beets and Schwabl's were tart without being too strong or too sweet. Exactly the way I like them.

I have highly recommended Schwabl's to friends and family, and even to the border crossing guard when we came back into Ontario! Worth the drive, but make sure you are hungry. You wouldn't want to miss a bite.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
beef on weck
Hot Roast Beef Sandwich
German Potato Salad

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Posted By Gregg on December 23, 2010 6:43 AM
I got there with high hopes. Problem was, we got there at an off hour (maybe 3 in the afternoon) and they wouldn't serve any rare beef )that would have required cutting into the middle of a new slab of beef) ... the result was that we had to choke down some very well done meat.

Too bad, we had gone quite a bit out of our way.
2 star rating
Overall Rating
German Potato Salad
beef on weck

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Posted By Linda Bradford on March 18, 2006 8:24 PM
We have been visiting Buffalo for many years and from our first visit, we set out to try local unique places. Having read about Schwabl's in one of the early editions of Roadfood, we dropped in - and have been dropping in ever since. We couldn't possibly tell you how much we love this place!

The beef on weck is fabulous - tender beef as you like it (we love watching "the carver" in action on that huge roast) served on a very fresh weck bun (a real Buffalo tradition - a kaiser imbedded with sea salt). The Hungarian goulash, with real dumplings, are outstanding, and the fish dishes are beautifully cooked. The Michelob's ice cold, and Nick's "special" gin martini is the best in all our travels (really!).

But all of those wonderful things can't hold a candle to the staff. For years, we always asked for the gal who had been our first waitress, Judy. We were very saddened when we heard last year that she had passed away and we will miss her bubbly personality very much when we go again. Whenever we showed up on a night that Judy wasn't on, we were usually served by Cheryl, another sweetie. Today we were very happy to read that Cheryl and her husband, Gene (one of those fantastic carvers!) have bought the place from the Schwabl family. Best of luck to you both - it couldn't happen to two nicer people and we know that you will, as you say, continue to carry on the great Schwabl's tradition.

So, folks, if you want to be greeted like old friends every time you return, and you want a fantastic meal in a charming, relaxed setting, make your way to Schwabl's in West Seneca (Buffalo). We guarantee you will be well-fed, well-treated, and well on your way to becoming Schwabl's regulars!
5 star rating
Overall Rating

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