Some Chicago diners are starting to get their lederhosen in a bunch because there’s a “for sale” ad for Chicago Brauhaus in Lincoln Square. But it doesn’t necessarily mean a closure is imminent for another iconic German restaurant.
Chicagoist reported that the restaurant has a sale listing. That’s not uncommon for a restaurant owner to measure the market for their property. It’s not a rarity, especially for long-running businesses with owners looking toward retirement. The Mirabell Restaurant was around for 40 years and Brauhaus has been around Lincoln Square for even longer, a pillar of that German-American neighborhood for 52 years.
Meanwhile, however, DNAinfo is reporting via unnamed sources that the restaurant will close. The listing agent told the website that they were searching for new tenants. Ambiguously, the agent also said they’re looking for “new ideas” which suggests a new owner may not take over Brauhaus, or even open a new restaurant.
For perspective, remember it certainly took a while for Mirabell to shutter and change hands and concepts following the German restaurant’s for sale ad and eventual closure after 40 years in business in Avondale.
There aren’t many places like Brauhaus left in Chicago, large spaces with plenty of dark wood that feature German bands, throwback German-American staple dishes, and giant glass boots of beer. Laschett’s Inn and Resi’s Bierstube remain nearby, but those restaurants don’t take as much space as the cavernous Brauhaus. They’re also not located in as highly-trafficked areas, the kind of areas developers are looking to snatch up.
It would be a shame if the restaurant couldn’t last until June when the neighborhood hosts its annual May Fest. That’s the original, not the Lakeview version. Regardless, if Brauhaus closes—and that’s a speculative “if”—there’s going to be many tears flowing into those beer steins on Lincoln Avenue. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: The Trib caught up with the Brauhaus owner. Harry Kempf told the paper that he and his brother, Guenter, are thinking about retirement. They have made a deal to sell the building, but the transaction hasn’t been finalized. Part of the deal is that the Kempfs can continue to operate their restaurant and pay rent to their new landlords. They aren’t close to closing and will make an announcement on their own terms.
In lieu of the Tribune’s story, DNAinfo completely changed its report, recanting that the restaurant was about to close. They added that the real estate agent is only looking for commercial tenants.