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I Won't Miss The Berghoff
February 22, 2006 | 3 Comments

There has been plenty of coverage of the impending closure of The Berghoff, one of Chicago's oldest operating restaurants (until this week). People are mourning the loss of an icon, lamenting the decay of the Loop, and reminiscing about times gone by.

There was a time when I looked forward to eating at The Berghoff, but that time has passed.

I'm fine with the weeping and reminiscing about the loss of a great restaurant, but it's happening years and years too late. The Berghoff died a long time ago. This once-venerable icon of historic Chicago has been serving below-average German fare for quite a while now. The schnitzel tastes like it was cooked in the microwave, the sausages are bland, the spaetzle is terrible, and the servers are cranky. I've been to the Berghoff about 6 times, for business reasons, in the last couple years and I haven't had a good meal once. The best thing I've had there are the bread, beer, and herring (three things I can have a lot of other places). The Berghoff is a get-em-in, get-em-fed, get-em-out kind of meal with no attention to detail or affection for their craft or customers. They've been resting on history and laurels for too many years.

The Chicago press seized this story like an attack dog, acting as if we only have two restaurants and one of them was closing. It broke my heart when I was reading about people wondering where they were going to go for good German food in Chicago in the post-Berghoff era. I'm sure it also it broke the hearts of the owners of Laschet's, Resi's, and the others that are way better at their craft than The Berghoff. I didn't see a single article, not even a paragraph that highlighted the interesting array of traditional German fare available in this city from places that have long outshined The Berghoff.

I would be upset if they tore down the building, which has charm and character. But, the building is not going to be torn down any time soon--it'll still be around. The mediocre restaurant inside is going away.

If you're misty-eyed about generations-old traditions gone by, it's time to move on. Cherish your memories and start new traditions. This city has too much good food for us to cry over a restaurant that gave up on quality years ago.

You have until Feb. 28th if you want to visit The Berghoff one last time.

The Berghoff
17 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 427-3170
http://www.berghoff.com/

Coming up next: "So, where should I go for a good schnitzel?"

Posted 03:26 PM
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