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Brahaus Closing Not Imminent; 'We Are Open,' Owner Says

By Patty Wetli | March 15, 2017 12:32pm | Updated on March 15, 2017 4:40pm
 The Brauhaus is the heart of Lincoln Square's German roots.
The Brauhaus is the heart of Lincoln Square's German roots.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

LINCOLN SQUARE — Here's what owner Harry Kempf had to say about news that the Chicago Brauhaus is closing: "We are open."

Kempf and his brother Guenter have operated Lincoln Square's iconic German restaurant and bar for 52 years, more than 30 of them at 4732 N. Lincoln Ave., having moved in 1984 from a leased storefront across the street.

The brothers are in the process of selling the building, he said, but assumptions that a real estate listing for the property signaled the restaurant's imminent closure are misguided.

"Nothing is closed, period," Kempf said. "When the time comes, I will personally make the announcement."

The building has been listed with the commercial real estate group CBRE, as first reported in Chicagoist.

The property's listing agent, Peter Graham, told DNAinfo, "I'm only looking for commercial tenants."

Harry Kempf immigrated to Chicago from Germany in the 1950s and his younger brother Guenter followed in the 1960s. The Brauhaus has long been a hub for German food, drink, live music and dancing. It's so identified with Lincoln Square that the plaza across from the restaurant, commonly referred to as Giddings Plaza, is officially named Kempf Plaza.

Along with Laschet's Inn and Resi's Bierstube, the Brauhuas is one of Chicago's few remaining German restaurants, a group that once included the Golden Ox, Zum Deutschen Eck and Mirabell.

On Wednesday, the dining room bustled with a weekday lunch crowd and regulars took up their seats at the Brauhaus' cozy bar. Harry Kempf hustled in the kitchen to fill food orders for an unexpectedly large party that arrived after a funeral. Guenter Kempf schooled wait staff on appropriate serving technique.

In other words: Business as usual at the Brauhaus until the Kempfs say it's not.