Chicago Brauhaus

Outside of Chicago Brauhaus

Katia Pavlyuk

Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, Chicago Brauhaus has become a community staple with its authentic German fare and relaxed environment. The company’s motto, “It is always Oktoberfest in Brauhaus,” reflects the laid-back style and attitude of this traditional German restaurant. Its motto can easily be spotted on every menu, postcard and website, and is often heard from its proud staff members as they treat you to friendly service. The Oktoberfest atmosphere of Chicago Brauhaus can be felt even before stepping inside the restaurant.

In the center of Lincoln Square this German-style building stands bearing double-wooden doors, yellow lanterns and a Bavarian chef sign advertising Steigl beer. The interior décor features long banquet tables decorated with blue-and-white checkered tablecloths and stained glass windows.  Above, is a curved out wooden ceiling with blue-and-white checkered flags. All aspects are very common to Bavarian country-style beer houses.

The restaurant dates back to 1965, when brothers Guenter and Harry Kempf immigrated to Chicago from Germany with thoughts of opening a restaurant. Chicago Brauhaus originated as a small restaurant called the “Treffpunkt,” which in the German language translates to “meeting spot.”

From left to right, Guenter and Harry Kempf, and Feddy (Harry’s son)

During the 1970s as the Lincoln Square neighborhood—Chicago Brauhaus’ current location—started to become more culturally diverse, the restaurant became a focal point of the neighborhood’s activity, and began to attract locals as well as tourists. The owners of the restaurant then decided to move the restaurant to a larger space and abandon the German name instead calling it “Chicago Brauhaus.” As Harry the owner says, “We saw a need for a house for everybody, where you could go with the flow and the surroundings were comfortable.”

In addition to Brauhaus’ comfortable atmosphere and authentic Bavarian look, the restaurant offers Chicagoans some of the best  German-American cuisine. Hhouse specialties include the “Bayarischer Leberkase a la Holstein,” a Bavarian-style grilled meat loaf topped with the fried egg, red cabbage and potatoes.  This dish is common to the residents of south Germany. There is also a plate especially created for Chicagoans, the “Brauhaus Chopped Steak.” It’s a Chicago-style broiled chopped steak, topped with German-style mushroom gravy and a side of vegetables.

The Chicago Brauhaus menu is very rich and features dozens of dishes that can satisfy the appetite of any customer. The restaurant has made huge efforts to assimilate to different ethnic communities of Chicago, especially in terms of the type of food it offers. Even though Germans are known to be great meat lovers, Chicago Brauhaus menu also offers vegetarian dishes, which gives it a chance to expend its cliental even more.

The Chicago Brauhaus Trio

As far as entertainment goes, the Brauhaus features its very own Chicago Brauhaus Band, a trio that fills the space with live folk music every evening. Since the increasing popularity of the restaurant and the diversification of the region, the trio band has expanded its music repertoire to now give performances not only in German, but in nine different languages to keep the public entertained and wanting more.

Chicago Brauhaus is a great example of old-style Germany right here in Chicago. It’s a place where people still come to drink beer in the early afternoon, to have lunch, dinner or just come and hang out—especially during the traditional German Oktoberfest celebration which runs from late September to early October.

As the lead singer of the band Gody says, “We have set the record for the world’s longest Oktoberfest,” so don’t miss a chance to be a part of it!

Check It Out: Chicago Brauhaus

4732 North Lincoln Avenue


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