>> Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn | Eat the World NYC

31 August 2020

Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn


[COVID-19 UPDATE: The very cozy wood-paneled interior and beautiful bar are unfortunately closed at the moment, but the biergarten is in full swing for lunch and dinner. Staff does a great job with masks and everything is distanced quite well.]

There is never a bad time to talk about the meaningless of the word "authenticity" when describing food. Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn might be one of the greatest examples of a place that will send people's thoughts in opposite directions, but a good starting point.

The biergarten is especially inviting in 2020.

Certainly this is not the place you should bring your friends who are visiting from Germany, they will probably have a lot to say about your choice. But is this authentic? With absolute certainty, yes. Places like this permeate every region of the country, and weave the entire U.S. story of European migration, 19th century manifest destiny imperialist thought, and the generations and generations of families that have come since.

It is also representative of the borough and the country as a whole. To get here on public transit from other boroughs, it takes quite a commitment, a ferry, a subway ride, and then a bus. Even by car it shows off the end of the world nature of this community in southwestern Staten Island.

So about that authenticity? The "German specialties" portion of the menu is the place to start, but as mentioned, your friends from Munich might never take your advice for dinner plans again. These are the recipes of a few generations down the line, and they will call it "American food." Meanwhile it will make the group of old locals sitting next to you conjure up the stories told to them by their almost-German grandparents back in Wisconsin.

The good news? They are both right. The best bet however is the 3 sausage sampler ($19, above), which does not show up on the lunch menu but is always available. There are four or five choices of sausages here, all of which probably come from Schaller & Weber or something similar, making them good quality. Unfortunately the mustard is just your standard deli variety.

The bed of sauerkraut that the sausages come on and the gravy that covers the pork jägerschnitzel ($11 at lunch, above) have an interesting, if not offputting, sweetness to them. Again, this is the result of many generations down the line and worthy of study rather than scorn.

And the best way to study these aspects of the United States is to keep ordering, and enjoying the great selection of German beers that Killmeyer's has on offer both on draft and in bottles and cans. The biergarten is simply a secret eden that you have needed for the last six months.

Killmeyer's sauerbraten with red cabbage ($12 at lunch).

Unfortunately the history of the spot is mainly indoors and the beautiful mahogany bar that was built in 1890 cannot be enjoyed at the moment. When you go inside to use the restroom, sneak a peek at it and make plans to return during better days.

The current owners have taken care of the property since 1995, but the story of this little slice of Staten Island goes back at least to 1855 when the first Killmeyer originally purchased it. Some stories push its history back to the late 1700's.

The beef goulash ($10 lunch price, above) has "over egg noodles" next to it on the menu, but somehow it could not have been pictured without spaetzle until it arrived exactly as described. Accompanied also by a small packet of oyster crackers, the generational research still had so much further to dig.

But sitting with a second Krombacher Pils, or maybe in front next to the "world's largest Hummel," enough of it made sense for continued enjoyment of the restaurant and the history. This is not only Staten Island in a nutshell, but also New York City, and the entire country. At least a slice of it anyways.


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1 comment:

  1. I really like eating here. The decorations of German beer signs. The historic building. It is always interesting for me to stop by. The food is really good too. I had cordon blau and it was a large portion with fresh vegetables. As well as mashed potatoes and gravy. Everytime I get to Staten Island. I will try to make timid to stop here.


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