The More things Change…
By Kurt Epps—The PubScout
…the more they stay the same. Thank heavens that maxim applies to Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn on Staten Island. I last visited the place in its infancy, twelve years ago, so being a lover of German food and beer, I felt a revisit was in order.
My buddy Tom Froehlich (now there's a Deutsch-handle if ever there was one) and I made the quick trip across the Outerbridge Crossing from my hometown of Perth Amboy to see if sole owner Ken Tirado, a co-owner twelve years ago, had effected any changes to the place.
Thankfully, in the main hall he has not, apart from increasing the availability of some exceptional brews from the Fatherland and other countries as well. Time was when Killmeyer's would only serve beers that came from countries contiguous with Germany, and it also had the distinction of being the largest purveyor of Spaten beers in NYC. Ken doesn't know if that distinction is still extant, but it's of little consequence, as Spaten lovers can still get their favorites at the Inn. Now, fifteen countries have their beers on Ken's menu.
Ken has also expanded the outdoor Biergarten, covering it in the event of inclement weather and adding seating to accommodate the crowds that show up, not only during the six-week Oktoberfest Season, but all year long. A wide variety of bands are booked to satisfy the listening needs of what Tirado describes as a "family" place that has everything from escargots to hot dogs.
Indeed, on our visit, many families were enjoying the indoor ambience and that exceptional Killmeyer's food, overseen by Franz the Moose, who has remained faithfully on the wall where he attends to his round-the-clock vigil. Franz watched Tom and me carefully as we ordered our beers from the extensive beer menu. Tom ordered a Reissdorf Kolsch to start, and yours truly had an Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen. We ordered up the Forest Wives' Mushroom appetizer that captured me back in the day. It was excellent then and remains a must-try now. Tom, an expert on food, confided that he could make a meal of this tasty appetizer alone.
Tom was enamored of his Sauerbraten main course and a Radeberger Pilsner, and I enjoyed my Weinerschnitzel, especially after Laura ladled some of the Forest Wives' Mushroom Sauce on it. It matched up nicely with my Eggenberg Urbock.
Dinner done and bellies full, we ordered up a few more beers—a Weihanstephaner Original for Tom and an Ommegang Three Philosophers for me--and retired to the outside Biergarten to enjoy some chat and a couple of Romeo y Julietas Tom had somehow managed to score.
Our stay was made even more pleasant by the attentive staff at Killmeyer's, from Delores the hostess (definitely a grandma with the Mostest) and dirndl-wearing Laura, our server. Laura, an ethnic mixture of Spanish and Italian was as helpful, friendly and attentive as anyone could want, with a winning smile and an attitude that showed she really enjoyed working here. That sentiment was prominent twelve years ago when former servers Melissa and Suzanne allowed that Killmeyer's was a great place to work.
We'll buy that. And it's still also a great place to eat and drink, especially if you're a Deutsch-o-phile.