If you've ever visited Buffalo, New York, you've likely heard of the famous "Beef on Weck" sandwich. But what is this local specialty, and where did it come from? Here we'll explore the history and origins of Beef on Weck, and discover why it's become such a beloved part of Buffalo's culinary landscape.
What is a Beef on Weck Sandwich?
A beef on weck sandwich consists of thinly sliced roast beef piled high on a kummelweck roll, which is a crusty, salty roll topped with caraway seeds and coarse salt. The sandwich is typically served with horseradish sauce on the side.
Origin of the Beef on Weck Sandwich
The exact origin of the beef on weck sandwich is unclear, but most stories trace it back to the German immigrants who settled in Western New York in the 19th century. "Weck" is short for kummelweck, the name of the roll used in the sandwich. Kummelweck rolls were popular in Germany and brought to Western New York by German bakers.
According to legend, a German baker named William Wahr, who owned a bakery in Buffalo, New York, created the beef on weck sandwich in the late 1800s. Wahr supposedly came up with the idea for the sandwich after he was asked by a customer for a sandwich that was easy to eat while standing up.
Another story attributes the invention of the sandwich to a Buffalo tavern owner named Charlie Roesch. Legend has it that Roesch invented the sandwich as a way to entice thirsty customers to stay longer and buy more drinks.
Popularity of the Beef on Weck Sandwich
Despite its relatively unknown status outside of Western New York, the beef on weck sandwich is a beloved local delicacy. It's a staple at bars, taverns, and restaurants throughout the region, and even has its own annual festival in the town of Clarence, New York.
In recent years, the sandwich has started to gain national attention, thanks in part to the efforts of local chefs and food bloggers who are eager to spread the word about this hidden gem. However, many Western New Yorkers are protective of their beloved sandwich and are wary of it becoming too mainstream.
The beef on weck sandwich may not have the same level of fame as some of its more popular counterparts, but its unique combination of tender roast beef and salty, caraway-seed-studded roll has won over the hearts of many Western New Yorkers. Whether you're a local or just passing through, a beef on weck sandwich is definitely worth trying.