from the Chicago Tribune:
Berghoff says 'auf wiedersehen'
Venerable restaurant to close after more than 100 years from the Chicago Tribune:
Tribune staff reports
Published December 28, 2005, 2:44 PM CST
A Chicago dining institution, the Berghoff Restaurant, will close in February after more than 100 years serving up beer and hearty German fare in downtown Chicago, its owners announced today.
Herman and Jan Berghoff, the third generation of the Berghoffs to run the business, said they would close the restaurant, café and bar at 17 W. Adams St. on Feb. 28.
The place was the first in Chicago to legally serve alcohol after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933; it holds city Liquor License No. 1. The current owners took over the operation in 1986, CLTV reported.
The owners gave no explanation for today's announcement except to say it was time for them to move on with their lives. The Berghoff Cafe at O'Hare International Airport will remain open.
Herman Joseph Berghoff, the restaurant's founder, came to this country in 1870 from Dortmund, Germany. By 1887 he and his three brothers were brewing Berghoff Beer in Fort Wayne, Ind.
When the Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago in 1893, Berghoff was there, selling his signature brew on the Midway. Sales were so impressive, he decided to open a cafe in Chicago.
The Berghoff Cafe opened for business on April 15, 1898, on the southwest corner of State and Adams Street – one door down from its current location. At the time, a beer cost a nickel, and a hand-carved sandwich was free.
The cafe became a full-service restaurant in the 1920s as Prohibition cut into the tavern's profits, though the Berghoff continued to sell near-beer and Bergo soda.
Federal officials this fall acknowledged Berghoff's stature when they took care to plan around the restaurant when drawing up a proposed $550 million expansion of their downtown courthouse and office complex.
Tribune dining critic Phil Vettel and the Associated Press contributed to this story.