The site of oompah bands, stein-holding contests and big pretzels in Rosemont's entertainment district could be repurposed, with talk of Hofbräuhaus Chicago becoming a smaller brewery not tied to the famous German brand.
Village officials are talking with owners Joe and Mike Matuschka about reducing the size of their cavernous German beer hall on the west side of Parkway Bank Park to help their bottom line.
"I think they want to do better," said Mayor Brad Stephens, who is talking with the father-son ownership team about possible changes to their redevelopment agreement.
The pact, inked before the restaurant opened in January 2013, calls for the village-owned site to be a branded Hofbräuhaus franchise, modeled after the famous brewery in Germany. But Stephens said if the site doesn't remain a Hofbräuhaus, it could still be some type of brewery.
Mike Matuschka said he's talking with Stephens to come up with the best solution for the 20,000-square-foot space, but no decisions have been made yet.
"Oktoberfests during the heyday, the place was jam packed. We loved it," Matuschka said. "The six weeks a year on Saturday nights, the place wasn't big enough. Then, other than that, there's plenty of room. It's an expensive concept to work."
The first Hofbräuhaus franchise in the United States opened in 2003. Today, there are nine locations, including Las Vegas, St. Louis and Cleveland.
"When we were building them 10 years ago, they wanted them to be like scales (of the original), and that doesn't work anymore," Matuschka said. "They're just too big."