Hofbräuhaus St. Louis will celebrate its grand reopening Friday night in Belleville.
“We’re going to have some games and contests and a special menu,” said Matt Simmons, new general manager at the German restaurant and brewery. “We’re going to rock the place and have a heck of a good time.”
Matt Chambers, host of “Great Day St. Louis” on KMOV Channel 4, will tap the ceremonial keg at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Simmons also invited Belleville Mark Eckert to make a few comments.
Music will be performed by ÜberCool, a German rock-pop band from St. Louis.
“Pop music from Germany has never been heard on American radio stations because it’s not in English,” according to the band’s website. “For the first time, you can rock and dance to the REAL German music that doesn’t need green hats, bratwurst, nor lederhosen.”
Hofbräuhaus is off Illinois 15, across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. It’s one of eight Hofbräuhaus of America franchises, patterned off the centuries-old Hofbräuhaus am Platzl in Munich, Germany, and owned by the Keller family, based in Effingham.
Hofbräuhaus reportedly cost $12 million to build. It opened in 2018 with more than 1,000 seats in a German beer hall and outdoor patio. It abruptly closed Sept. 26 and reopened Oct. 2 with new management. Simmons said a break was needed to solve problems and make improvements.
“We’re doing some training and just finalizing some things,” he said at the time. “We’re trying to get all our ducks in row so we can give people the best experience possible. I want this to be perfect.”
Hofbräuhaus President Chane Keller, who runs the business for his family, acknowledged that customers had complained about loud noise and poor service in online reviews.
Simmons said the staff has made subtle and not-so-subtle changes related to the menu, service, music and calendar, including more special events to attract people from throughout the region.
The city of Belleville has a vested interest in Hofbräuhaus’ success. It spent $2.42 million to extend sewer lines to the development site. It also granted tax incentives worth up to $32.36 million, but those were based on future revenues, not paid upfront. The city also is collecting sales taxes.
“I’m hopeful about their reopening, and regrouping will be beneficial to growing Hofbräuhaus,” Eckert said Monday. “For the good of the Shrine and for Belleville, we want to see all that was planned come to fruition.”
Eckert was referring to the hotel, gas station and other businesses that Effingham developer Chuck Keller and his two sons were planning to build on the site, which is owned by Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Catholic religious order that operates Our Lady of the Snows.
Chuck Keller died in January on his 80th birthday. Eckert said the city understands how this could delay progress on the Hofbräuhaus development.
The restaurant and brewery staff will participate in Belleville’s Chili Cook-Off this weekend, but its main focus will be making sure people have a good time at the grand-reopening celebration on Friday.
“We may even stay open late,” Simmons said. “If people want more, we’ll give them more.”“