German and other central European delicacies are sold here
For about 60 years it has served, and still does, the German community, not just in the neighborhood, but during the 1940s, 50s and 60s it was a beacon for German and Austrian refugees who established themselves in Washington Heights. People would come every week or so to stock up on the kinds of meats and groceries they remembered from Europe.
The distinctive features of the place are the offerings -- both at the meat counter, the prepared foods (a very limited selection of those) and the canned and tinned goods are largely from Germany and are labeled in German. Most of the butchers and clerks are German-speaking and conduct business with customers in German.
Since 1937, Schaller & Weber has been offering award-winning sausage and processed meats from the same small shop at Second Avenue and 86th Street. As a premier German butcher and grocery store, this establishment’s products have received international acclaim for their taste and quality, including the most distinguished International prize, the first time ever awarded to an American company.
Today the business remains family-owned and operated. The Schaller brothers maintain the tradition of high quality products in an atmosphere that harkens back to a time when this stretch of 2nd Avenue was lined with an array of Central European shops of similarly unique character. Schaller & Weber’s meats are no longer smoked and prepared beneath the store on 2nd Avenue as they once were, however old family recipes are still used at the company’s manufacturing plant, now located in Astoria, Queens. Inside the shop, they also maintain the tradition of ensuring that every child leaves with a taste of their very own house-made bologna.
This longstanding business, as well as many others, is bearing the brunt of the Second Avenue subway construction. In a recent New York Times article, a Schaller & Weber manager stated that business has been down 30 percent because customers who drive in are unable to double-park to pick up their bags due to the partial street closings. Everyone hopes this commotion will amount to nothing more than a temporary rough patch for this valued Yorkville business. (November 2010)