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German cuisine

Thu 10 2017 , by

Bygone Buttered Rolls?

On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like the common coffee-accompanying buttered roll has become bygone from NYC and the surrounding areas of NJ and Connecticut in any measurable way. However, in many cases they aren’t what they used to be, and finding them made properly (with a fresh, handmade Kaiser roll and real salted butter) is becoming a lot more iffy. While buttered rolls can still be bought as such in many small shops, diners, and sidewalk coffee carts throughout the city, the general consensus is that since bygone days (mid-20th century) in the majority of cases the quality of the rolls has gone down due to modern developments such as the disappearance of smaller, regional/local bakeries, leading to the mass production and the lack of freshness and quality of the hard rolls, and lack of knowledge of how they are “supposed” to be has led to rolls without the requisite crispy crust or poppy seeds on top. Then there is the butter, or lack thereof: the more frequent use of margarine of varying taste and mouthfeel by those who sell them, topped off by vendors wrapping them in plastic wrap in deference to modern sanitary sensibilities but giving the rolls the savor of the plastic. The comments section from this NY Times article about the phenomena of buttered Kaiser rolls or “butter rolls” as they are called in popular parlance is revealing: besides having arrived in NYC via “The Vienna Model Bakery” in 1870, which also brought commercial yeasted bread to the city, they derived from German/Austrian Jewish cuisine: one commentator reveals that her father called them “jew rolls” when at home, but not to appear anti-Semitic, ordered “hard rolls” from the local bakery. (In many cases, a local bakery was involved in the production of good old fashioned rolls with butter as they ought to have been-it is the scarcity of general purpose local bakeries that has been partly responsible for the taste and quality of buttered rolls becoming more frequently bygone.) How are the bastardized versions that have become widely available in our time still selling? For the same reason the original and better-tasting ones did: they might be the only thing some people can afford to eat all day. They are cheap and filling, though of dubious nutritional value. —

Ode to the Buttered Roll, That New York Lifeline

It can be hard to explain the appeal of a buttered roll.

Unlike the breakfast sandwich or the cruller, the humble buttered roll makes no claims to lusciousness. It’s not really greater than the sum of its parts: a round roll, sliced and slathered with butter. There is no alchemy involved.

And yet, like many New Yorkers, I’ve breakfasted all my life on buttered rolls, wrapped in plastic, foil or wax paper and sold for about a dollar at any corner deli, bodega or coffee cart.

Do I love them? No. That is not really the point. I love that they exist, an unsung, charmingly ordinary hero of the city’s mornings.…

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From silive.com:

Schaffer’s Tavern: Winky says ‘it’s time’ for last call; sets closing date

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from SiLive.com:
Schaffer’s Tavern: Historic Staten Island restaurant is closing

By Pamela Silvestri

on September 14, 2016 at 1:22 PM, updated September 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Rumors have been afloat for more than a year that Schaffer’s Tavern was sold. Well, turns out there’s truth behind the talk.

Pending regulatory and Buildings Department approvals, Victory State Bank is taking over a long-term lease of the historic space at 2055 Victory Blvd. in Meiers Corners.

Construction of a new building will begin in early 2017, according to Joe LiBassi, Victory’s founder and chairman. When that happens, proprietor Winky Schaffer and his family will retire from the restaurant business.

A final day of Schaffer’s Tavern service has not been announced.

SOLID ROOTS ON STATEN ISLAND

Back in March, when rumors ran rampant of a bank taking over the spot, Schaffer shrugged off the chatter as he tended bar. He couldn’t complain about business and admitted it’s been a great stretch — 83 years in Meiers Corners — making the place the longest-running family-owned eatery on Staten Island.

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island's Schaffer's Tavern

Photos: A look at the enduring appeal of Staten Island’s Schaffer’s Tavern

Schaffer’s Tavern, the longest running family-owned restaurant in the borough, celebrates its 80th year

“Hello, my friend! How ya doin’?” said Winky back on that balmy spring day. He reached over to the side to shake hands with a patron, then took back to his spot behind the taps filling chilled mugs with beer.

There’s a lot of history within these knotted pine walls, many fond memories of families and neighborhood “good people” types, Schaffer has said.

And, the story of Schaffer’s goes like this: Winky’s grandfather, George, had a speakeasy, located at the top of Jewett Avenue at Victory Boulevard in the 1920s. (That’s where a Burger King is now.) When Prohibition ended, George opened Schaffer’s in its current building (2055 Victory Boulevard) purchased in 1933. The structure resembles a Bavarian tavern with its flower boxes and roof line.

Winky manages the restaurant with sons Chad and Troy. Some of the family members live in two apartments upstairs.

On Tuesday, waitress Mary Karpeles shuttled to tables Schaffer’s famed pastrami and separate platter of tender, brown sauce-topped fresh sliced ham served with string beans and mashed potatoes. She’s been a server at the restaurant for over 30 years and knows customers by name.

Other long-time employees are held in high esteem like the Schaffers’ late bartenders — Ed Cicci, Ed Lunny, Peter Barquin, Charles “Cookie” Farley, Ed Noonen — who are memorialized in the front room.

THE FEEL OF SCHAFFER’S

Detail inside the two-room tavern include ceramic tile floors and auburn woodwork, both original to Schaffer’s. Only the bar has changed: Seventeen years ago, a fire damaged a mantle that hung over the space and subsequently a carpenter named Joe Tuite built a new back-bar.

Other traditions in the place include small jars or bowls of hot red peppers and vinegar-pickled green tomatoes, potato pancakes and sauteed red cabbage.…

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