Sylvester Schneider has brought the first indoor Bavarian biergarten and restaurant, Zum Schneider MTK, to the South Fork. Located in the former Oyster Pond space on South Elmwood Avenue in Montauk, it opens for the season this week, bringing a decidedly German flavor, a replication of Zum Schneider, his bar in the East Village.
Schneider, who comes to Montauk to relax and escape work, could not resist the opportunity to extend east. “This was presented to me on a silver platter. I’ve never wanted to open a restaurant in Montauk,” he said. But the new digs were, “Just too good to be true. It’s a 30 second walk from the beach, and the first restaurant when you come in to town; everything is here, down to the knives and forks, and even down to the martini glasses - which we won’t need,” he joked.
The beers are the same ones served at Zum Schneider, such as Schneider Weisse, a wheat beer with an amber hue, and Hofbrauhaus Traunstein selections with a range of light to dark, from a helles to a dunkel. The menu is similar as well with bratwurst, potato pancakes, and Bavarian sausages, along with local sea fare, like scallops over potatoes and sauerkraut.
After soft openings the past three weekends, including during the , Zum Schneider MTK is ready to roll. “We won’t go crazy and have bands every day, but we will have music on a small scale,” Schneider said.
As in the city, there will be annual events like Oktoberfest, May Day, and Karneval, which has evolved to a full-on staged production. Schneider is the lead singer of his house Oompah band, Mosl Franzi and the JaJaJa’s, who add to the mix. The only exception for television in the bar is made for the Euro Cup, played in its entirety this June and July, and during the World Cup.
Nearby residents, who fear another Surf Lodge, a nightclub in Montauk that , should rest easy. “I have no intention to change Montauk,” Schneider said, “It’s quite the opposite.”
“We’re a family place and people are welcome with their kids,” he said. Schneider has lived in Montauk since 2004. “I’ve been coming here for at least 12 to 14 years,” he said, “I’m here all year round, I go back and forth. I love the winter here.”
While Schneider admits weekend crowds of young people help pay rent, that is not his motivation. “I doubt very highly that we will get that type of clientele,” he said, “We have a totally different setting.” He will try for outdoor seating, but bands are inside.
Familiar with the off-season, Schneider wants residents to have somewhere to go past Labor Day. “People come here, open, make their money, and leave,” he said, “I’m planning to be open some of the time during the year.”
Originally from Wessling, Bavaria, Schneider came to the States to attend music school.
After a move to Manhattan, economic necessity and feelings of nostalgia sparked the idea for Zum Schneider. “I was getting homesick and missing the old beer gardens at home,” he said. It took two years to find a spot, “I wanted it only outdoors, but it was impossible in New York City, so the indoor beer garden was born.”
Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Lunch is available during the week, with brunch on the weekends.