November 14, 2009

Upper Noe Time Capsule: Lehr's German Specialities

There's been plenty of worry about Whole Foods hurting local food retailers like Drewes and Cheese Co., but that's definitely not the case at Lehr's German Specialities (yes, it's spelled that way) on Church near 28th. This old-world store is full of Bavarian treats such as pinkelwurst, braunschweiger, senf, stollen, and spaetzle. Want 20 different kinds of gummi bears or 10 varieties of salty licorice? They've got it. As one Yelper put it, "The place is a little old, but it's still got it going on!" In addition to hundreds of packaged food items, you'll also find German music, magazines, toiletries and plenty of fun kitsch. The owner is a charming German lady who has owned the shop for 35 years - and she happily reports business is as strong as ever. Most customers, she says, are out-of-towners who travel to Noe from as far as Sacramento and Fresno for their German fix.

Lehr's is apparently a vestige of the days when the blocks around that area of Noe were home to Scandinavian and German immigrants. Across the street, another popular German destination was a restaurant and deli called Speckmann's that served the local German community and anyone who wanted an authentic schnitzel from 1962-2001. (The building has since been remodeled and is now the home of Incanto.)

On a recent Saturday at Lehr's, there were half a dozen customers shopping and all looked like regulars. The store is especially festive around the holidays when it's decked out with lights and ornaments and a huge selection of European chocolates, cakes, and treats.

Lehr’s German Specialties
1581 Church St @ 28th


insidesfre said...

I've never actually been in this store, but I hope it never closes. It's one of the last bastions of old-time Noe Valley that you'll see.

Tamagosan said...

I love Lehr's! Speckmann's was awesome, but Incanto, mmm, Incanto. Lehr's has awesome fun buttons in German, too.

DaveO said...

It's that time of year. They have the world's largest Stollen selection, just in time for the holidays.