WGN’s Tom Barnas Shows the Chicago Scene at The Berghoff

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Tom Barnas interviews The Berghoff’s top boss Pete Berghoff and Executive Chef Matt Reichel at the historic landmark restaurant that serves famously authentic German fare in downtown Chicago. YouTube Tips ⓘ

The Berghoff restaurant at 17 West Adams Street in Chicago’s Loop, was opened in 1898 by Herman Joseph Berghoff and is famous — among other highlights — for holding Chicago’s Liquor License #1. The original business location was located at Adams Street and State Street. Herman Joseph Berghoff made the move to the current building at 17 West Adams Street around 1913.

In the 1900s Berghoff’s grew into three restaurants under one roof. The original bar, a large two-room restaurant, and a more casual downstairs cafe called the Annex opened in 1939 under the leadership of Lewis Windthorst Berghoff and Clement Anthony Berghoff, who had both joined their father, Herman Joseph Berghoff, in the business prior to his death in 1934.

The Berghoff as closed for 16 1/2 months for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Berghoff is a rarity in America’s restaurant industry—100% family-owned and family-operated for more than 123 years.

The Berghoffs are not the only family associated with this establishment. Dozens of staff members have been working for The Berghoff for over multiple generations; not to mention the generations of diners who have celebrated milestones and togetherness within the walls of The Berghoff.

The Berghoff’s longevity is a testament to the high standards of excellence we have maintained through the years. A wholesome, familial tradition is represented in everything we do.”

— The Berghoff’s

On December 28, 2005, it was announced by Herman Berghoff, 70, and his wife Jan Berghoff that after 107 years of operation … The Berghoff would close on February 28, 2006, but the restaurant’s basement cafe reopened on April 18, 2006, operating during weekday lunch hours only. The basement cafe was run by Carlyn Berghoff, who is Herman and Jan’s daughter and the great-granddaughter of the founder, Herman Joseph Berghoff. Carlyn Berghoff also reopened the Berghoff’s bar on May 23, 2006, under the new name “17/West at The Berghoff.” The dining was closed for about one year around 2006 when it operated as a private banquet hall known as “The Century Room.

In 2016, Carlyn Berghoff, CEO of Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group, transitioned out of the restaurant, and sold her assets to Berghoff Restaurant Company of Delaware, which is owned and operated by her brother, Pete Berghoff. July 1, 2016, marked the first day that Berghoff Restaurant Company of Delaware began managing operations at 17 West Adams. Currently, the Berghoff Company operates the full-service restaurant, public bar, cafe, and an on-site micro-brewery.

In the past two years, The Berghoff was affected by the COVID-19, requiring a temporary closure due to light traffic in the city, as people worked from home. As the restaurant re-opened, operators faced the reality that some of their vendors had shut down.

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Elliott Bambrough’s hitting up a Chicago staple that`s been servin’ up German brats for over one hundred years (Chicago’s Best / YouTube, June 16, 2019). YouTube Tips ⓘ

Chicago’s Best last episode aired August 8, 2021. The Emmy Award-winning show featured co-hosts Elliott Bambrough and Marley Kayden.

Letter from Peter Berghoff at the beginning of the 2021 Holiday Season …

“To all our guests who have come and dined with us, I want to thank you first and foremost, we are so pleased to see you again, and we are happy to have you here!

When the pandemic first began, I would have never imagined that we would be closed for 16.5 months, nor that I would see and experience all that I have over that time and continue to do so today.

Like everyone else, this year and a half-plus have been a journey full of immense challenges that no one could have foreseen. However, we are incredibly grateful to have survived and come out the other side, as we have seen firsthand the devastation the pandemic has caused.

As we have continued on the path to recovery, we, unfortunately, have faced new challenges. I, like many others, could write a novel about these new challenges we continue to face as we do our best to recover, but I’d like to focus on the most important ones that have impacted our day-to-day operations.

Staffing shortages are not unique to our establishment but our industry as a whole. We fully realize that those who previously worked in the restaurant industry, including our long-time crew members who we miss, had to find ways to provide for their families as there seemed to be no end in sight. To our team members who have returned and those who are new to The Berghoff family, thank you for continuing to navigate these uncertain days with us, we are so grateful, and it truly is an honor to have you.

As we reopened, it became a realization that the supply chain is in chaos and that sadly, many of our longtime vendors have since closed, or are unable to provide us the items we need on a day-to-day basis. As many essential and staple items that we would regularly have are now in short supply, the cost has gone up immensely. While we will continue to offer a menu that we believe best reflects who we are, understand that some items may not be available at this time.

As we enter the holiday season, please be patient as service may be a tad slower, people are still learning. Additionally, to adhere to proper cleaning protocols, so everyone can safely and efficiently enjoy their meals, there might be some delay before being seated.

We ask that if you have any complaints or concerns, please let us know, whether in person or feel free to email us, so we may address them as quickly and, to the best of our ability, rectify any issues.

Again, we can’t thank you enough for the support, encouragement, and understanding you have and continue to show us. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Sincerely, Pete Berghoff”
SOURCE: www.theberghoff.com

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