Rockford’s Der Rathskeller restaurant closes after 90 years in business

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The owners of the classic Rockford restaurant, Der Rathskeller, have announced Tuesday they are closing for business.

The closing of the German restaurant, located at 1132 Auburn Street, was announced on Facebook.

“Thank you to our customers, staff and all of Rockford for nearly 90 years of support. It has been a pleasure and honor to serve you. We are seeking a new owner and hope to re-open in the near future. Valid gift certificates issued within the last year will be refunded.”

Der Rathskeller opened in Rockford in 1931, by Merill, Wisconsin native Fred Goetz upon returning from World War I.

Starting out as a sausage shop and delicatessen, the business eventually expanded to include the basement restaurant.

Rathskeller is a German name for a bar or restaurant located in a basement.

In 1976, the restaurant changed hands to Dick and Betty Giesen.

The restaurant was nearly destroyed by a kitchen grease fire in 2000. Following the renovation, a outdoor beer garden was added in 2009.

The Giesens put the business up for sale in both 2007 and 2015.

Giesen’s son, Mike Dupre, took over and unveiled an updated menu in 2016.

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