02 February 2010

Another Lost Restaurant Search

Readers seem to be sending me on wild restaurant chases lately—and I am happy to go on them. Last week, a descendant of Joseph Guffanti asked me if I knew when Guffanti's Italian restaurant finally gave up the ghost. I did my best, and discovered a lot, but couldn't find out the exact year when the eatery died. This week, someone has asked me if I knew anything about a place called Steuben's in the 40s, a Teutonic drinking joint where he used to go in the 1960s.

It was actually called Steuben Tavern, and was located at W. 47th Street and Broadway, right in the thick of Times Square. And indeed, it was a German type place. It appears to have been the longest-lasting branch of what was once a chain of Steubens. In 1934, there was quite a lot of hullabaloo when a Steuben Tavern opened on the south side of 42nd between Broadway and Seventh. It was a wide broad, stone building, set on the site of the old Metropole Hotel. It was designed to look like an English tavern and had murals by Winold Reiss (see above), the well-known artist who also did murals for several of the Longchamps restaurants.

The 42nd Street tavern closed only five years later, in 1939, leaving branches on W. 47th and Lexington. The 47th Street location was tiny, with wood paneling and checked tablecloths, and served pot roast and schnitzel. It was going strong through the 1960s. Again, I don't know when it closed.

The front page of the menu is below.


mingusal said...

Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, George Washington's Prussian Chief of Staff and namesake of the city's Steuben Day parade, on the menu cover.

Anonymous said...

Amazing work, I am the guy who
emailed you a few days ago about
this lost memory;
and damn but if you're not the
Sherlock Holmes of bloggers....
Robert E.

blout said...

Steubens was highlighted in a 1962 Candid Camera episode, which I have a tape of.

ChiChi Fargo® said...

Ah, Steubens. Where we used to go as New Jersey college students for hearty offerings like sauerbraten, potato dumplings, red cabbage, wursts...but mostly to drink beer (and its exotic offshoots like BerlinerWeiss.) I graduated college in 1970 and never returned. Wonder when it finally closed. Lovely to see someone else is thinking of this great place of revered memory.

Anonymous said...

Steuben was the nicest place I know where I could drink beer when I was 16 and had an ID that said I was 46

Jen said...

I just bought a beer glass stamped "for your money's worth, Steuben Tavern" at a church rummaged sale in PA and it's a great find!

John Battaglino said...

I went to Xavier high school in Manhattan, and we used to go there for Schnitzel a la Holstein and Wurzburger beer, after a show or sports event. A wonderful place!

Anonymous said...

I've read that Steuben Tavern was also popular among the American chapter of the exiled Estonian student fraternity korp! Vironia.

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather, Jack Stark, opened Steuben Tavern. He also started The Brass Rail. If you have any information on either of these two eating establishments, please contact me:



Bruce Robbins