Buffalo's Charlie the Butcher donates beef-on-weck sandwiches to the event honoring ex-Colony owner Klauber.
Forget wings. For Charlie the Butcher (and Mrs. Charlie the Butcher), a beef-on-weck sandwich is the classic Buffalo dish.
Ex-Buffalonian and iconic Longboater Murf Klauber believed so, too. At the Dec. 7 Kiwanis Lawn Party, which is partly to commemorate Klauber’s life and contributions, all those in attendance can get a taste of his hometown sandwich with Charlie the Butcher’s donation of beef-on-weck to the event.
“When I found out that he had passed, I started calling and saying, ‘If there’s ever going to be a funeral service or some kind of service, I would love to donate, and I would love for his hometown sandwich to be there, in his honor to introduce it to his new hometown friends,” said Mrs. Charlie the Butcher, aka Bonnie Roesch, Klauber’s longtime friend.
When Roesch met the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort owner in the 1990s, she was overjoyed to find a fellow Buffalonian who knew and loved the sandwich that her husband, Charlie Roesch, serves up in his restaurant.
“So we go to the Colony, and lo and behold, the owner is from Buffalo, N.Y.,” Roesch said. “How great for me to be able to play tennis, to be able to meet and get to know Murf and then have him become my mentor.”
Klauber became a friend and mentor who Roesch said always believed in the sandwich and the success of Charlie the Butcher. Roesch jokes that her job is to make her husband, a fourth-generation butcher in Buffalo, famous, so she can just play tennis.
“I can hear [Murf] in my ear going, ‘You’ve got to get that beef down there to that event,’” Roesch said.
“He would say, ‘You’ve got to get this down here,’ or, ‘How can you get it into that location?’”
So, as those not familiar with the Buffalo classic often say, what the heck is weck?
The sandwich dates back to the 1800s and was the creation of a German baker in Buffalo who paired a roll topped with caraway seeds and kosher salt with thinly sliced beef.
Roesch remembers Klauber often fondly recommended adding a potato side dish to the sandwich.
“His enthusiasm and confidence is what motivated me and what made him a wonderful mentor to me,” Roesch said. “He was my mentor in business and in life.”