Upper East Side

Old School German Butcher Keeps Oktoberfest Spirit Alive

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Munich scrapped its Oktoberfest celebration this year but the oldest German shop on the Upper East Side is keeping the spirit alive.

Schaller and Weber, founded in 1937, is making its own Bavarian festival complete with traditional German sausages, cuts, and beer imported straight from Germany.

“It's one of the most patriotic kind of events in Germany and in Europe, people hold true to their tradition. It's a very joyful tradition. People sit on communal tables, you meet strangers, you laugh, you drink beer, you have a good time,” said Jeremy Schaller.

“We wanted to bring that experience here to the Upper East Side and duplicate an exact replica of a Munich, Octoberfest.”

The butcher shop has expanded from its humble beginnings on 86th Street, which used to be known as Bratwurst Boulevard, a nod to time when German immigrants settled there.

“When my grandfather came here, this is where German immigrants that came right off the boat would settle. It was like Little Italy or Chinatown. People just spoke to each other in German on the street. As time changed, their children started to get educated in English or American culture," Schaller said. "Then they wanted to go to different areas of America and settle with their own families. So eventually the whole neighborhood sort of dissolved and changed and gentrified."

After 85 years, it was time to branch out of the shop. The butcher has rolled out a line of grab-and-go snacks and bratwurst and sausage recipes free of antibiotics.

Cognizant that some aren’t comfortable celebrating at Schaller & Weber during the pandemic, the shop has rolled out an at home kit complete with enough sausages, mustard, and sauerkraut to make you feel like you’re in Germany every weekend until Halloween.

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