789 Center Rd
West Seneca, New York
Reviewed by: Les Noteworthy
Food: Service: Certainly a Buffalo, New York area landmark, Schwabl’s has been serving guests simple but tasty fare for 177 years. This family began its love affair with good food and Western New York State in 1837, when German immigrant and family patriarch, Sebastian Schwabl began feeding friends, locals and hungry travelers. The tradition grew to include several locations in and just outside Buffalo, a variety of styles, an amusement park, racetrack, baseball field and even what might be considered as Buffalo’s first zoo. Yes, all developed around good tasting and simply presented food.
Buffalo is known for many unique food items and styles, most notably Buffalo Wings, now a mainstay around the world. Another would certainly be a classic Buffalo sandwich simply known as “Beef on Weck”, a sandwich Schwabl’s has clearly perfected.
Kümmelweck (also known in western New York State as Kimmelweck) is German in origin. “Kümmel” is the German word for Caraway (seeds), while “Weck” is a Southern German term for roll. Kümmelweck is a roll with kosher salt and Caraway seeds baked onto the top. American varieties of this delicious roll tend to be softer in texture than the original German Kümmelweck, but none the less delicious and very easy to eat. The beef component is traditionally thinner sliced rare roast beef, which is gently warmed to order. Although standards indicate thin slices, my sandwich contained a variety of thicknesses. The sandwich is then sliced and served with a dill pickle spear, sides of horseradish, beef jus, for dipping, and usually a side of fries. My guest and I both opted for sides of German Potato Salad, which was quite tasty while warm, but tasted increasingly like hay, as it cooled to room temperature.
To start, we also selected a basket of batter dipped and deep fried vegetables, consisting of zucchini planks, broccoli florets, onion strips and onion rings. These were served with a ramekin of creamy horseradish dipping sauce, which was delicious.
Our sandwiches arrived, almost completely filling the small plate, while the German Potato Salad occupied another plate of the same size. While I would think that a different plating presentation would offer this classic sandwich greater majesty, the proof was certainly in the pudding, so to speak. The quintessential Buffalo legend was piled high with 4 layers of beautifully pink warm roast beef, and although the promised beef jus was never delivered, it was never actually missed. Both horseradish and ketchup were set on the table, so I opted to utilize the remainder of the dipping sauce from our starter, which coincidentally was still sitting on ourtable when the sandwiches arrived. Oops!
Our server Karen was well versed in in the history of this Schwabl’s location, which was started by Ray Schwabl in 1942, as well as the family’s legendary accomplishments over the past seventeen decades. She also knew the menu quite thoroughly.
Schwabl’s is considered by people who track these things, to be the longest line of restaurants and restaurateurs in New York State, and has been recognized by the Western New York
Chamber of Commerce as a Pioneer Business in the Niagara Frontier. This iconic restaurant was also featured in Gourmet Magazine in 1999 and gained national acclaim on a PBS TV Special, entitled “Sandwiches You Will Like” in 2003. Since then, this humble, hospitable, throwback style restaurant has gained repeated accolades for having Western New York’s Best “Beef on Weck”, and has even been included on Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel program, “No Reservations”!
Most days, Schwabl’s opens at 11AM and remains open until 10PM. They offer the same menu all day, which not only includes the famous Beef on Weck, but also hand carved hot turkey
sandwiches, dinner sized selections, a wide variety of salads, a repertoire of over 50 home-made soups and the ever popular all-day, every-day fish fry, usually a popular Friday Night item / event around Western New York.
Combine their incredible history with numerous awards and accolades, throw in a genuinely friendly attitude, mostly efficient service, timely food preparation, a classic bar featuring all natural ingredients (they brag that no mixers are ever used), a famous and delicious sandwich, and you have a proven recipe for success…you have Schwabl’s in West Seneca, NY.
Stop in next time you are in Upstate New York and tell them Les Noteworthy from DinnerReveiws.com© sent you!