The iconic Gasthaus restaurant, which has operated for more than three decades in Waukesha, will close by week's end.
The German restaurant abruptly announced the closure in a June 18 Facebook post, less than two months after Waukesha officials reviewed a proposed development at the Gasthaus site at the corner of Silvernail Road and Grandview Boulevard.
'It is with great sadness that we have to inform everyone that Weissgerber's Gasthaus will be closing its doors for the final time at the end of Saturday June 25, 2016,' the post read. 'We want to thank all of our loyal guests for 33 years of business.'
'With a heavy heart'
The family released a statement regarding the restaurant's closure Monday afternoon, June 20, that read in part: 'After a long and painful period of uncertainty about the future status of the Gasthaus, it is now confirmed that the sale of the Gasthaus is actually, and inevitably, going to happen.
'We are closing with sadness and a heavy heart,' the statement continued. '(T)he creation of the Gasthaus was a personal achievement that made us proud.'
Hans Weissgerber, brother of the late Gasthaus owner Jack Weissgerber, said in late April that the future of the restaurant was uncertain shortly after plans for a strip mall and free-standing restaurant, that called for the razing of the Gasthaus, became public.
Waukesha County tax records still list the estate of Jack Weissgerber as the property owner. The land has as estimated fair market value of $839,100.
California-based Panda Restaurant Group has proposed building a 9,800-square-foot strip mall and a 2,600-square-foot standalone Panda Express restaurant at the Gasthaus site, 2720 Grandview Blvd.
Under the current proposal, the restaurant would have to be razed to make way for the development.
The Waukesha Plan Commission on April 27 unanimously voted to send those plans back to the developer for revision and further review. To date, the project has not appeared again on the commission's meeting agendas.
Hans Weissgerber — who owns the Seven Seas restaurant in Hartland and the Golden Mast Inn in Okauchee — said at the time that ongoing issues with his brother's estate 'left (the family) no choice but to consider a sale of the property.'
But, he added, 'we are still not sure if the Gasthaus will be sold or not,' and described the decision as one of the most difficult and emotional ones the family had to make.
Tom Hekkers, the organizer of the Wednesday Nights Classic Car Show held in the Gasthaus parking lot, said Monday morning that he was saddened by the decision to close the restaurant.
'We are obviously disappointed by their decision,' he said in a news release. 'We knew a decision was forthcoming, though we didn't expect the closing to be so abrupt.'
Hekkers said after the closing announcement he's looking for a new location for the car show. The final show at the Gasthaus will be Wednesday, June 22.
'We will miss the hospitality of the Weissgerber's Gasthaus,' he said. 'They were a very generous host.'