Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Go Eat at Heidelberg

The Heidelberg restaurant, on 2nd Avenue between 85th and 86th Streets, has been a surviving piece of old German Yorkville since 1936. But they're struggling.



First they endured the construction of Georgica, a massive, 20-story, cantilevered condo tower that went up next door in 2008.

But it's the Second Avenue Subway construction project that has been killing them ever since it plunked a giant god-knows-what in front of the restaurant, completely blocking it from view and plunging it into shadow. The subway construction has been decimating small businesses all along the Upper East Side.

"Business has been down 40% since the construction started," said a waiter. "If we didn't own the building, we'd be gone by now. People drive by and they can't see us. They call all the time and ask if we're closed. We just have to hold out a few more years. I hope we can make it."

A note comes with the bill that reads, "During these difficult times with the Second Avenue Subway construction, economic condition, and rising costs," Heidelberg would greatly appreciate if you could help out by paying the bill or gratuity in cash.



Please help Heidelberg by visiting for lunch or dinner, preferably with cash in hand. Bring your friends. Go for birthdays and anniversaries. You'll find them hidden away behind a giant, ugly bunch of Second Avenue Subway paraphernalia.

Enjoy the wurst!


14 comments:

esquared™ said...

This is one of the places that I like to keep to myself. But ever since that 2nd Ave. subway construction, they can really use the business. So, I second this —— go. here. now. often.

Related articles: on bratwursts and strudels in Yorkville and the closing of businesses on 2nd Avenue:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E2DC153AF936A35753C1A9669D8B63

onemorefoldedsunset said...

I had a memorable Thanksgiving there many years ago. The meal was arranged by an elderly UES grande dame who'd been going there for decades and was treated like a queen by everyone there. We had a fabulous time! Very sad about the situation they're in - I'll definitely drop by.

Gojira said...

Have eaten here since I was a kid in the 60s, and always loved it. Last time I went the lunch menu had gone from about 10 pages to literally 2, and my mainstay dish, which I've been consuming fried for over three decades, because that's the way it's eaten in Germany, was, I was told by an attitudinal waiter, only being served boiled. Not fried. And no, the chef could not throw it in a pan and fry it, it had to be boiled or nothing. So I got up and left, and I probably won't go back.

John M said...

Don't know about other times of year, but don't eat the Christmas goose. Incredibly overpriced, overcooked, and the dumpling was like a little ball of glue.

You can't go wrong with beer!

Anonymous said...

i live around the corner and always forget...thanks for the reminder, totally going this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means go and eat. Patronize this last vestige of Germantown! Personally, I'll still use a credit card as I have here for many years now. The important thing is JUST GO!!!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have been going here now and then over the years, and have been wondering how much this situation has hurt them. They really are unfortunately completely obscured by the construction.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read about your bad experience. However, being in the restaurant business myself, I know that sometimes staff are not a good representation of the owner's policies. I would give it another shot, and just mention the name, Eva, she's the owner and would not tolerate that.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing authentic German restaurant. There is nothing else like it. Go and order a boot!

Anonymous said...

Yorkville was was filled with Hungarian/German dance halls on 86th. Those days have clearly changed. The yuppie-hipster-fication continues.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about their troubles and I hope they are only temporary. During my New York days, I visited the Heidelberg a lot to drink beer and throw out my then very bad German. It is not only genuinely Teutonic, but also a good throw back to an older time in New York.

I remember a lot of older Germans would gather at the bar after work. The last vestige of the post war immigration wave from Germany. I also remember going there to celebrate German Reunification. What a great time.

Yes, please support the Heidelberg. Prost!

Charles Smith said...

I love going out at the Heidelberg restaurant, its an amazing place to dine out equipped with the best and the advanced restaurant equipment and seating arrangement.

Andrew Porter said...

In the 1960s I used to live at 82nd and Madison, used to buy German-language books at the newsstands at 86th Street & Lex. I saw the write-up on Heidelberg and sent it to friends, and four of us arranged to meet for lunch there last Wednesday. I was stunned by the changes—there were no tall buildings east and north of 86th and Lex, and now...

The restaurant was empty except for an older couple who left with heavy doggy-bags, and another couple of guys who were drinking, not eating their lunch. Th food I ordered, from the lunch menu, was good, but about double the price I normally pay for the same thing at Teresa's on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. The beer list was outstanding, but I don't drink. But at least the four of us gave them some business, and hopefully the subway construction fence and blockage will come down in a few months.

Renée M. said...

Thanks for the heads up, Jeremiah. I took my 86 year old father there this weekend. He and I had not been there in at least 10 years. I felt like I was doing a good deed in 2 ways by doing this. Plus, the food is better than I remember. We had the wurst platter for 2 and it was wonderful. Well worth the price to see my father sing in German to the tune of "Lili Marleen". We hope to go back soon.

Speaking of vanishing New York, 86th Street has all but vanished since I was a kid. We used to go to the Steuben Day parade every year. My father is almost a historian of Yorkville. A woman who was writing a book on the history of Yorkville was picking his brain a while ago.