Food

Enjoy Fast (and Cheap) German Food From a Legendary Meat Family

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German butcher and charcutier Schaller and Weber stands as one of the last vestiges of Yorkville’s Teutonic heritage. The Upper East Side neighborhood was once called “Germantown” thanks to a thriving German and Eastern European population, and since 1937 the community has relied on this goldmine of snappy landjäger preserved-meat sticks (the original Slim Jims) and other porky Germanic treasures. Now in the hands of third-generation owner Jeremy Schaller, the historic shop has sprouted Schaller’s Stube (1652 Second Avenue, 646-726-4355), a compact and modern sausage bar.

Schaller and partner Jesse Denes opened this annex inside a former meat locker last July. Up front, they’ve installed a takeout window with a tiny kitchen. Sausages — many made by chef Alex Melnichenko, previously of John Brown Smokehouse and the Cannibal — are piled in the display case underneath. Order from the counterman and take your forcemeat to go, or step inside the stube (room in German) to take advantage of the limited counter seating. Music blares in this tiny inner sausage sanctum, while customers wait for and devour their spoils.

Stube serves kielbasas, wursts, and hot dogs on their own or stuffed into rich Balthazar Bakery brioche. You can choose to add condiments like sauerkraut, pickles, tomato, or cilantro or pick from Stube’s lineup of proprietary sandwiches. There’s also excellent, crisp fried chicken made in house ($2–$4), as well as soft pretzels ($1.50), which Schaller imports from Germany.

The “classic” bratwurst ($7) receives a mop of kraut and a hit of spicy, malty Düsseldorf mustard. Currywurst ($7), another classic German fast food, arrives here as fat coins of knackwurst doused in deftly seasoned curry ketchup that soaks into the bun. A sprinkling of curry powder adds extra zip. You’ll also want to snag a few pieces off the top with wooden prongs before attempting to eat it as a sandwich. If you really want an eater’s challenge, opt for the $14 Berlin Wall. The porcine assault lobs crunchy crumbles of bacon and chicharrones at kielbasa, which is enrobed in melted American cheese. Smoky and sweet bacon jam comes slicked underneath, and diced onions are strewn over the top to cut the porky richness.

Melnichenko gives marjoram-spiked bauernwurst the bánh mì treatment with jalapeño, daikon-carrot slaw, and sriracha mayonnaise. If you prefer your charcuterie in loaf form, consider the King Ludwig ($9), a sandwich that balances triangles of bologna-like leberkäse with slivers of radish and sweet Bavarian mustard. He also pay homage to Americana with a bacon-cheddar brat ($10) loaded with traditional hamburger condiments (no lettuce, but pickles, tomatoes, onions, and more bacon) and a Reuben riff ($6) that finds a swiss-cheese-wrapped hot dog hiding under sauerkraut and squirts of proprietary, Russian-dressing-like Stube sauce.

Sadly, there’s no beer available, and everything on the menu practically begs for the sudsy stuff, but we loved sipping an Almdudler, the dry and herbal Austrian apple soda, on a recent visit.

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