Chicago Brauhaus Closing in December, German Restaurant Adds to Growing List of Chicago Restaurants Closing in 2017

Chicago Brauhaus Closing

Chicago Brauhaus is closing its doors after serving traditional German food and beer for more than 50 years.  The German restaurant is closing on December 11, which means loyal fans have only one more month to order the Brauhaus Special, Eisbein mit Sauerkraut, or Hühner Schnitzel and listen to the dulcet tunes of the Brauhaus Trio. Chicago Brauhaus joins a growing list of Chicago eateries that have shuttered their doors in 2017.

Lincoln Square’s Chicago Brauhaus to Shutter on December 11

Auf wiedersehen! Chicago Brauhaus announced that December 11 will be its last day of operation, having served traditional German food and beer for 52 years. This week, patrons to Chicago Brauhaus found cards placed on tables, announcing the closing date:

“To All:

It is with sadness that on Monday, December 11, 2017, the Chicago Brauhaus will close its doors.


For over five decades, the Chicago Brauhaus has been a mainstay in wonderful Lincoln Square.

Our sincere, heartfelt appreciation to all our customers and friends — we thank you all.

We will miss you and never forget you. Thank you.”

The closing caught some off guard. Eight months ago, in a Chicago Tribune interview, co-owner Harry Kempf said the German restaurant and beer hall was going to stay open “until I say (otherwise).”

Rumors swirled about the Bavarian beer hall closure began in March, when the Kempf brothers sold the building.

“This is a hell of a good time in real estate to sell. This used to be a (crappy) place; now it’s beautiful” Kempf said, adding, “…the people who bought it are looking to lease the space. But it’s in my contract that I can pay those guys rent and stay open. I just took reservations for Easter.”

It took six months, but the Kempf brothers made it official. Kempf said he and his brother wanted to close Chicago Brauhaus in mid-December, as they were worried that, “every Tom, Dick, and Harry” would want to book a private event for Christmas.

Thanks to the robust Chicago real estate market, the Kempf brothers do not need to keep the festive Oktoberfest atmosphere running throughout December.

List of Chicago Restaurant Closings in 2017

Whether it’s by choice or a result of competition or bad reviews, a large number of Chicago restaurants have closed in 2017.

At the end of October, one-time hot spots Johnny’s Grill and Mezcaleria Las Flores announced they were closing. The last day of service was November 3.

On October 30, FireFin Poke announced it was closing down all five of its Chicago locations. This must have come as a surprise; the company only opened its fifth location, in Lakeview, a week earlier.

“We gave it everything we had and, in the end, the concept simply was not working financially. We want to thank our loyal fans and guests for giving us the privilege to share our Poke, Hawaiian Love and Aloha to each of you.” said partners Rodelio Aglibot and Anshul Mangal.

Rapid expansion may have been an issue. FireFin opened its first restaurant in mid-2016 and grew quickly from there.

After just three years at its Lincoln Square location, Fifty Cupcakes is no more. After serving cupcakes from its popular food truck, Tiffany Kurtz and husband Chris Sewall opened the brick-and-mortar shop in Lincoln Square in 2014 to keep up with demand.

According to the company’s website, which is a basic landing page, Kurtz says “the time has come to say good bye!” And that they, “are on to [their] next adventure.”

Meanwhile, the Knife steakhouse closed up shop after just one year. The restaurant lost its head chef, Timothy Cottini, in July. Knife also struggled with mixed reviews. Fork, the sister restaurant, remains open.

Charlatan, a pasta restaurant in Noble Square shuttered its doors after three years. The closure also comes eight months after the owners closed Three Acres, a bar/restaurant.


Chicago Brauhaus,” Chicago Brauhaus, last accessed November 9, 2017.

Chicago Brauhaus, the German Fixture in Lincoln Square, to Close in December,” Eater, November 7, 2017.

Chicago Brauhaus owner: Not closing any time soon,” Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2017.

Johnny’s Grill & Mezcaleria Las Flores Are Both Closing Next Week,” Chicagoist, October 27, 2017.

FireFin Poke Is Abruptly Shuttering All 5 Locations,” Chicagoist, October 30, 2017.

Fifty Cupcakes Dessert Garage,” Fifty Cupcakes, last accessed November 9, 2017.

Knife Steakhouse Closes Just One Year After Opening In North Center,” DNAinfo, October 26, 2017.

Charlatan is Closing After a Three-Year Run on Chicago Avenue,” Eater, October 6, 2017.