The Actual Peter Luger

January 22 is the birthday of the legendary restaurateur Peter Luger (1866-41).

Originally from Bavaria, Luger opened a dining and amusement establishment in then-predominantly German Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1887, called “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” (Carl was Peter’s nephew, the head chef). The place flourished. After Luger died in 1941 it was purchased at auction by customer Sol Furman, who owned a factory across the street. Though the neighborhood was now primarily Hasidic, the place flourished even more, under the name of Peter Luger Steak House. Today it is the third oldest continuously operated steakhouse in NYC, behind the Old Homestead (in the meatpacking district) and Keen’s. A second location for Peter Luger’s was later established in Great Neck. As it happens, I have lived near both locations!

The menu at the original Peter Luger has gone largely unchanged since the beginning. It is a wonderful place to go to soak up the culture of old New York, and the days of Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell, not to mention the German-American culture that used to play such a large part in the cultural life on this city.

As it happens, I stumbled across his final resting place a few months ago at Cypress Hills Cemetery! I was there to visit Mae West. His vault is not far from hers.

The latest news is that Peter Luger’s is opening a new branch in Tokyo! It is scheduled to open in 2020.