All-American is a series that looks at beloved, longstanding North Texas eateries and examines their history while exploring how the food has changed — for the good or bad — over the years.
It could be the worn-in wood, the potato salad or the unending coffee, but there’s an undeniable warmth at Kuby’s Sausage House. Everything, and I mean everything — down to the cuckoo clock — feels like the home you didn’t know you had. It’s after lunch on a Tuesday, and I’m devouring the last pieces of rye bread from a lights-out-good Reuben sandwich. The best way to describe a meal at Kuby's: It feels like forever Thanksgiving.
Regardless of the weather outside, Kuby's is warm and warming to the bones. Is there some sinister soul out there who would refuse the embrace Kuby’s Sausage House and European Market? I refuse to meet that person.
The Reuben in front of me has my attention: Straightforward curtains of grill-kissed corned beef, a stern slice of Swiss and sauerkraut — sautéed down with bacon, onion and white wine — has the flavor profile of a chilly Macy’s Day parade. The tender potato salad, with hints of bacon, is deeply comforting.
But it doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving; this food is always good.
On a Wednesday morning, the cuckoo clock sounds at Kuby’s. I’m downing hot coffee again, warming up even on a late August morning. Jerry Rivera, the assistant general manager of the restaurant, has been there for 12 years, working with the Kuby family. He tells me about their potato salad: bacon, white wine, caraway seed, a little bit of mustard. It's simmered down with vinegar, and thinly sliced potatoes are added and sautéed.
"It’s a simple recipe, but it’s also very detailed and very precise," Rivera says. "It’s the staple of Kuby’s — the potato salad and the sauerkraut." Kuby's makes the potato salad and sauerkraut in large batches, and you’d be wise to eat them in heaps with their sausages, schnitzels and the classic Reuben sandwich.
Kuby’s has been a Dallas staple in Snider Plaza since 1961. Even the architecture stands out on the corner of Daniel Avenue, sharp and proud, like a bald eagle. Like many of Kuby's patrons, I've been coming back for years.
I ask Rivera which Kuby’s dishes go back to old family recipes, and he jumps in before I can finish.
"All of them. Most of the recipes, especially the sausage recipes, have been handed down through the Kuby family through generations," he says. "You know, we’re talking 300, 400 years."
People have an unnamed sense for detecting recipes with this level of family history. It’s like CGI in movies: Our eyes can sense what’s real and what’s not. Truly home-cooked meals — especially those heartfelt meals cooked by someone else — light up connections to our ancestors. It floods the mind with old memories that may not even be yours. And the best dishes open old roads in our genes, clearing the way towards a family tree that you may not have known was there.
"We’re not worried about what’s trending," Rivera says. "We stick with what works."
Later, I’m sitting at a back booth deeply enjoying the pork schnitzel. The breaded crunch and tender pork, with a quick spread of their brown mustard and a shower of lemon juice, is outstanding. A bite, piled with their lightly sweet cabbage and bold mustard, makes me want to text my mom and ask if I have any German ancestors.
I leave like I’ve always left Kuby’s: Warm, happy and thinking of family.
Kuby's Sausage House and European Market, 6601 Snider Plaza