July 10, 1923 – July 25, 2013
Margarete Scharf, a German immigrant who re-created the foods of her homeland in a restaurant bearing the family name, died Thursday in Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home. She was 90.
Born Margaret Duerman in Luhe, northwestern Germany, she attended business school as a young woman. She was married and a mother when her family arrived in Buffalo in 1957 under the sponsorship of her uncle, George Troidl.
She worked as a waitress at his business, Troidl’s Restaurant, and at Lougus Restaurant for several years until buying the former Rimbeck’s Schiller Park Tavern in 1967. The name was changed to Scharf’s Schiller Park Restaurant, and it opened Oct. 1, 1967.
Mrs. Scharf fell in love with the place, a converted home at the dead end of South Crossman Street, because of its proximity to the park.
“Look out the window, and you think you’re in Germany,” she said in a 2008 interview with a reporter for The Buffalo News.
In 1968, Mrs. Scharf held one of the area’s first Oktoberfest events, as part of the restaurant’s anniversary celebration. She was proud to have paid off the mortgage – which funded a new kitchen – in just seven years.
While the restaurant is famous for its potato pancakes, Mrs. Scharf received approval from the state Department of Agriculture in 1982 to bottle and sell her homemade “German House Salad Dressing.”
She remained actively involved in the restaurant, where she took great pride in hosting the family’s Christmas dinner, until 2010. It continues to operate.
Mrs. Scharf was the former secretary – before serving multiple terms as president – of the Genesee-Pine Hill Businessmen’s Association, having been installed by former Mayor James D. Griffin, who became a great friend.
In recognition of Mrs. Scharf having been named Woman of the Year by the Christopher Columbus Committee on Oct. 12, 1989, the mayor declared that day Margarete Scharf Day in the city.
She traveled frequently, including visits to Germany and Austria.
Mrs. Scharf was a devout Catholic who attended Mass regularly and was a supporter of the St. Jude Shrine.
Her husband, Karl, died in 1989.
Survivors include two sons, Karl Jr. and Gerald; and a sister, Kriemhilde Mueller.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, 180 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga.