Eckl’s History


Eckl’s Restaurant is one of the oldest buildings in the Orchard Park area. The structure celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016. It has long been a landmark in Western New York. It is one of the last spots of the ‘Old Hamburg’ days when this area was known as East Hamburgh. Its first owner was Wilhelm Willink, featured prominently in the early settler days in Western New York.

No definitive record has been found as to the use of this building when it was constructed in 1816, but reliable lore tells us that over the years since, it has been used as a saloon, feed store, notions store, place of worship, and tavern-restaurant.

In 1906, Luis Schroeder, Martha Eckl’s uncle, bought the building and operated it as a tavern-restaurant. 1920 would usher in Prohibition and the location would continue to feed its customers without serving alcohol. In 1926 Emma Schroeder would acquire the building. Then in 1934, Emma’s daughter, Martha, along with her husband, Jack Eckl, reopen the business following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

From the moment they opened their tavern-restaurant, Eckl’s has been known for its friendliness and good food. In 1963, the state took the building in order to widen South Buffalo Road, and later, Dale Eckl and his wife, Shirley would buy the building from New York State for $500. Then came the task of moving the structure to its new location, 4936 Ellicott Road, where it is located today.

Dale and Shirley opened the doors once again on December 27, 1964. With the construction of a new foundation and ample basement, Eckl’s Restaurant improved the equipment needed to support the growing operation, add more space to the dining room, each while maintaining the solid plank construction used at the time of the buildings initial construction.

They ran it continuously for the next 50 years. Scheduled closings were limited to Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Super Bowl Sunday. There were only two unplanned closings; once during the Blizzard of ’77 and another during the “Snowvember 2014” winter storm.

Eckl’s Restaurant has earned great acclaim as one of the original vendors of Beef–on-Weck sandwiches. Eckl’s perfected the sandwich by combining slow roasted, cap-off Certified Black Angus Top Round (never overcooked!) with a Kummelweck, or “Weck” roll, featuring a unique blend of salt, caraway seed, and dough. In this form, they created a succulent treat that is unsurpassed in the region, or anywhere beyond.

The diverse menu boasts other coveted specialties like a beef plate with tasty accompaniments, lobster bisque, relish trays, broiled and breaded fish, and many others. If these old walls could talk, much would be learned of the early history and development of the area that never reached the history books.

Many a storied notable person has dined at Eckl’s, and many have been part of the core of “regulars” that has endowed Eckl’s with the warm sense of camaraderie and family that has become part of the fabric of the business and its success. We are honored to have been entrusted with the tradition and legacy that has been Eckl’s for almost 100 years. We hope you will join us in being stewards of this legacy into the generations to come.