One of the few remaining German businesses on the Upper East Side, Heidelberg Restaurant continues to serve authentic German dishes to both tourists and regulars who remember the neighborhood when it was known as German Yorkville. Located on the same block as Schaller & Weber, another German business surviving from the 1930s, the Heidelberg Restaurant caters to anyone looking for a taste of home.
At one time a thriving center of German life and culture, today few German-owned businesses remain on Second Avenue after rent increases drove many German residents to the suburbs. The Heidelberg Restaurant, like Schaller & Weber and Glaser’s Bake Shop, was able to buy the building while real estate prices were lower. As a result, the restaurant has been able to survive in its original home.
Since 1936 the restaurant has served many traditional German favorites including an array of several different kinds of wurst, many of which come from Schaller & Weber. Potato pancakes and spaetzle are among other favorites. Dressed in lederhosen and dirndls, servers present a wide selection of German beers and schnapps. Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Home of the Boot,’ Heidelberg also provides the opportunity to experience a unique German tradition, drinking from a steifel, a two liter boot-shaped beer stein. Most Saturday nights the Heidelberg Restaurant is host to live music, best enjoyed in the traditional biergarten downstairs.
Today, work on the Second Avenue subway line makes it harder to get to places like the Heidelberg, but it is worth the trip for a taste of authentic wiener schnitzel and a sip of genuine German beer.
Grab a seat at the bar and strike up a conversation with one of the locals that still frequent this establishment.