In search of white asparagus, I went to Mueller’s, 7207 Harford Road. A local author, Dave Belz, suggested it. Belz’s collection of work, White Asparagus, was released this summer by Baltimore’s Apprentice House.
Mueller’s did have white asparagus, but I couldn’t taste it. It was a Knorr’s white asparagus soup package in German: spargelcreme suppe. The delicatessen, which also has a few tables for eat-in customers, is an absolutely charming and delicious spot for authentic German cuisine. Closed Tuesdays, the delicatessen is open Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, 9 AM to 2 PM.
Mueller’s owner, Ken Mueller, is the third generation of Muellers to run the delicatessen; opened by his grandfather, George, in 1947. In fact, Ken still prepares many of Mueller’s specialties the way his family always has.
For example, the roast beef ($9.50 a pound or $4.25 for a sandwich) was seasoned only with pepper and roasted for about two hours until it is medium to medium rare. “The way our customers like it,” added Mueller. The oven he uses is in the back of the delicatessen, in what was the kitchen when his grandparents lived and worked at 7207 Harford Road.
“My grandmother used this same kitchen sink,” Ken said. “This place holds a lot of memories for me.”
Belz, who told me he had to acquire a taste for it, ordered the braunsweiger liverwurst sandwich for $3.55. He said it was “creamy, smooth , not garlicy. It was not overwhelming. The rye bread was fresh, too.”
He also had the German potato salad for $1.60, that had “just the right touch of vinegar and sugar. A sweet and sour mix. The potato salad was garnished with smoky bacon, pimento and pepper.”
Mueller was pleased to see Belz, one of his numerous multi-generational customers.
“Customers who came here when my grandfather ran the business, continued to shop here when my father, Edward, operated it. And they brought their children, who come here now, sixty-three years later,” Mueller said.
Belz told me Mueller’s is a Christmas Eve tradition in his family. “Mueller’s will put together a ‘plate of many colors’ for us. It will have blood sausage, head cheese, liverwurst, and schnitzel. It is something that has been passed down from my father-in-law, who used to host the Christmas Eve gathering with the German delicacies, to my wife and I who now host it.”
Platters from Mueller’s are available year round, starting at $4.65 per person for five ounces of meat per person (imported ham, roast beef, corned beef, turkey breast, Swiss and yellow cheese). Add $.95 a person for breads and salads.
“Our German gingerbread cookies and our asbach, liqueur candies, are especially popular during the Christmas season,” Ken added. He told me that German noodles, called spaetzle, are made and sold year round at Mueller’s.
The Mueller’s shrimp salad was a customer favorite, so I ordered it on a Kaiser roll for $7.95. It was lightly seasoned with a nice, spicy sauce that did not overwhelm. The large pieces of shrimp were served in an excellent, fresh roll and I could well understand why it was so popular.
The entire Mueller family, son Brady rang up our order at the cash register, daughter, Kristen, Ken’s wife, Sharon and another son, Justin, all work at the delicatessen. “It’s the only place I’ve ever worked,” said Ken. “A neighborhood gathering place with customers I have known all my life.”