o, on April 30 of this year, several of us participated in the annual Victory Boulevard Restaurant Stroll, which as you may know is like a giant block party except that you pay for admission and get to sample the fare at different eating establishments. As we made our way down the hill from Todt Hill Road to Jewett Avenue, we heard several people mention that Schaeffer's was not participating this year, despite their name being on the tickets we all held with little tear-off tabs for each establishment we visited.
After we made our first few stops, I took full advantage of there being no line in the liquor store next door to one of the restaurants that had a tremendous line; the liquor store was having wine tastings, and so why not? I had a ticket.
Of course, after that I was holding out for my visit to Schaeffer's. Surely it was all hearsay that they would not participate, but then I realized they had no reason to advertise their business any longer as they had planned to close. So sad, they had the best pastrami on rye sandwiches. I don't think I ever ordered anything else there.
As we stopped at the closest restaurant to the tavern on the stroll, I asked the crowd I was with if they wanted to go into Schaeffer's for one last drink. They were not the least bit interested because they were not participating.
Well, I never! Pass up a chance to have a shot at Schaeffer's for what might be the last time? Not me! I was looking forward to going, so you guys keep moving and stuffing your faces while I sit for a few minutes, bring my alcohol level back up, and document my surroundings, thank you.
The bartender, whose name may have been Tom but I don't remember now because it's fully nine weeks later, appeared to be a bit on the melancholy side that day; I told him I was aware that they were closing and that he must get really tired talking about it all the time. He nodded his head sadly in agreement. I asked if he minded if I took some photos. He was all right with that.
Looking back at all the photos I took, I can't help but get a little sense of my own mortality, as the memorabilia spans decades of owners, bartenders, and patrons who have long passed. There are photos that, by the look of the hair and the clothing, look to be taken in the 70s. There's a pencil sketch of someone that it not labeled, but I'm betting he's a patriarch.
I asked Tom if they had any plans to auction off any of the memorabilia, or if items were already spoken-for. He said that some of the collection would remain private, but that many items would be available. He was kind enough to offer me a business card before I left.
My last visit to Schaeffer's was the one I will remember the most. I don't usually make it a habit of going to bars by myself, but I'm glad I did this time. In hindsight, I should have bought a sandwich to go that day and saved it for my next lunch, but I'll just have to savor those memories of pastrami gone by.
My family is all IUOE and I would love to give this sign to my brother for his birthday.