It’s sad news for smoked pork chop fans: Walzwerk is closing permanently after 21 years of serving schnitzel, spaetzle, and schwarzbier to the Mission. An announcement posted on the restaurant’s website says this is the final week for takeout and delivery, making the last day this Saturday, June 20. “Our world has changed and we understand why … ” the post reads. “Proudly looking back on 21 years of serving German food to this amazing city, community, and neighborhood.”
Walzwerk originally opened in 1999. Owner Christiane Schmidt is from what was then known as East Germany, and brought over her region’s hearty fare at affordable prices. The restaurant has become known for its jagerschnitzel pork cutlets doused in mushroom gravy, grilled bratwurst sausages, pillowy spaetzle, and crispy potato pancakes, along with a full selection of German beer, including a Köstritzer Schwarzbier black beer from the owner’s hometown.
There aren’t many standout German restaurants in SF, and most are Bavarian, making Walzwerk’s focus on East Germany different and interesting. Unlike sausage and beer halls, with big groups slamming boots, it was cozy and eclectic, with mismatched tables and chairs, with vintage posters and albums decorating its walls. Drinkers could belly up to the tiny bar and down pints with an old friend, or wind through to a back room, often reserved for birthday parties.
A few years ago, Rachel Levin, Eater SF’s restaurant critic at that time, gave the standby a respectable two stars. “There are a handful of other German spots in San Francisco, more popular German spots where every night is Oktoberfest, complete with groups guzzling from Das Boot. But if Suppenküche is a big, boisterous party at a Wirtshaus in Munich, Walzwerk is an intimate dinner party at the home of your best friend’s friend in Berlin.”