Most Viewed Stories
Authentic German food, however it's pronounced
- Click here for more stories on Business in Yuma
- Click here for more business news from 'The Street'
Order a meal at Steiner's European Deli, and it's as much a language lesson as it is a dining adventure.
“I would like a schnutzle,” said a polite Nick Rosandich on a recent breezy Yuma day.
“You mean a schnitzel,” chided his daughter, Cindy.
“You say schnitzel, I say schnutzle. But whatever it is, I want one,” answered Rosandich with a broad smile.
Nothing is lost in translation, however, at Steiner's Deli where Christine Stoner is more than happy to dish up a schnitzel — even if you call it a schnutzle — or describe the spicy bockwurst, its coarse cousin the bratwurst, and the rest of the decidedly authentic German cuisine.
Located at 2630 S. 4th Ave. in an unmistakable A-frame building set back from the street, Steiner's European Deli is a full-service eatery boasting 16 different lunchmeats, seven soups, four salads, eight types of sausage.
“It's the only place between Los Angeles and Phoenix that carries this fare,” said Stoner.
German cuisine is marked by a cornucopia of flavors: peppers, garlic, onion and thousands of different varieties of wurst or sausage. But perhaps most importantly, the recipes and the cooking styles are vestiges from a region steeped in history.
“Customers say it reminds them of their mother's or grandmother's cooking,” said Stoner, who was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, to a German-born mother and career soldier dad. Stoner was just 13 years old when her father, John Divsch, was transferred to Yuma Proving Ground — a far cry both geographically and culturally from the girl's beloved Germany.
The family continued to dine on their native cuisine, perfecting recipes for German potato salad, cucumber salad, cabbage rolls and stuffed bell peppers.
Eventually, “I started bringing around my wagon to cater small events like church fundraisers and block parties,” where she dished up mouth-watering bratwurst and homemade thick-crusted pretzel rolls liberally sprinkled with chunky salt. After her son was born, the soft-spoken blond took time off but admits, “I never really got out of it completely.”
In August, Stoner decided to take advantage of a recently vacated quaint building smack dab in the middle of town and launched Steiner's European Deli.
“I grew up eating this food. And I thought that I would bring it to Yuma.”
Stoner isn't alone in her nostalgia.
Cindy Rosandich, a self-described foodie, fondly remembers her mother cooking similarly rich artisanal meals and is thrilled to dine repeatedly on what she described as “bona-fide German food.”
Folks who are less adventurous can rest assured that the menu has something for everyone, including the most finicky eaters.
“When I first came in,” said Rosandich, who brought her father and fiancé in for lunch, “I didn't know what to get so I tried about four different things. Now I keep coming back because everything is delicious.”
As Yuma continues to draw new populations of military folks, younger generations and small business owners like Rosandich, Stoner hopes that by staying open through the summer and stocking fresh, unique meats, more diners will embrace her restaurant rather than spend their money at chain restaurants.
Stoner then recounted a story about a customer who came in and admitted he normally patronized a chain but wanted something different. The man went with a Steiner Burger — a cross between meatloaf and an American hamburger served on a Kaiser roll.
“He loved it.”
And if you wondering how one could possibly eat a bratwurst sausage without a mug of ice cold beer, well, fear not. You can bring in your own beer and Steiner's will bring out a frosty beer stein.