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Old 01-05-2013, 02:25 PM
 
Location: OH
688 posts, read 863,219 times
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Met up with some friends from UC/DAAP/Cincinnati last night and one of the topics that came up was that Christy's Lenhardt's is not reopening after closing for the holiday season. Rumor is ownership is shopping the property for sale.

I'm in Columbus and am hoping someone from Cincy more familiar with the situation can confirm. More specifically are you hearing of any interest in carrying on the tradition of a restaurant/bar or is it being eyed toward demolition? I know there's been a lot of redevelopment in that stretch between Calhoun St and W McMillan. Wouldn't surprise me if the land value surpassed the building.

Demolition would be sad in my view. I had a lot of fund there as a UC student both as a patron and employee, but beyond that the building is an historic landmark and was local brewer Christian Moerlein's dowry gift to his daughter's husband upon marrying her off. One would think there'd be some interest to preserve it for its historical significance.

Christy' and Lenhardt's "Fine German Dining"

151 West McMillan, Cincinnati, OH, 45219 - Multifamily (land) Property - Off-Market on LoopNet.com
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,931,493 times
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Given Cincinnati's long-standing and ongoing tradition of urban removal my money's on its being leveled. The demo contractors have already had a field day all through there. Most recently it was the Friars Club (replaced by a drab block of student-priced, that is to say overpriced, apartments) at the southeast corner of McMillan and Ohio Ave. Before then most of the entire strip between Calhoun and McMillan bit the dust and still sits incongruously vacant. And the north side of Calhoun St is now an ugly elongated brick box with chain stores at ground level and more student-priced apartments above.

Lenhardt's had already seen its glory days go by. When the original restaurant was passed down the new generation of owners tore out the wall paneling and removed the fancy chandeliers. The green-bordered cream-colored walls lit by plainer chandeliers in no way conveyed the same sense of "enjoying an evening out." Even before German specialties were relegated to certain nights it was plain as could be that the place was staying profitable off the pitchers of beer flying out of the kegs and into the gullets of partying Bearcats. The "Christy's" beer garden outside stayed abuzz with people catching a buzz while the dining room gathered dust. "Old World" cuisine - except for Italian - is completely out of favor, cast aside for Asian fusion and (at the other extreme) continual fancying up of American junk-food classics like hamburgers and pizza. Plus, college students are fickle, not particular at all about where their next cold brewskis come from. So even if a new owner held on to the land and the historic house it doesn't bode well for the business' being resumed.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,827,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen_master View Post
Met up with some friends from UC/DAAP/Cincinnati last night and one of the topics that came up was that Christy's Lenhardt's is not reopening after closing for the holiday season. Rumor is ownership is shopping the property for sale.
In spite of goyguy's lengthy speculation, Christy's has suffered from crappy owners for sometime now. Ownership told employees that they were taking a vacation over the Christmas season. Ownership then contacted employees to tell them that they would not reopen. Ya - Merry Christmas!

I would speculate that ownership at Christies believe they can make a windfall by offering up their property forsale. And they are probably right, especially with Usquare@The Loop filling in the green space quicker than you could say Rathskeller.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:59 PM
 
Location: OH
688 posts, read 863,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goyguy View Post
Given Cincinnati's long-standing and ongoing tradition of urban removal my money's on its being leveled. The demo contractors have already had a field day all through there. Most recently it was the Friars Club (replaced by a drab block of student-priced, that is to say overpriced, apartments) at the southeast corner of McMillan and Ohio Ave. Before then most of the entire strip between Calhoun and McMillan bit the dust and still sits incongruously vacant. And the north side of Calhoun St is now an ugly elongated brick box with chain stores at ground level and more student-priced apartments above.

Lenhardt's had already seen its glory days go by. When the original restaurant was passed down the new generation of owners tore out the wall paneling and removed the fancy chandeliers. The green-bordered cream-colored walls lit by plainer chandeliers in no way conveyed the same sense of "enjoying an evening out." Even before German specialties were relegated to certain nights it was plain as could be that the place was staying profitable off the pitchers of beer flying out of the kegs and into the gullets of partying Bearcats. The "Christy's" beer garden outside stayed abuzz with people catching a buzz while the dining room gathered dust. "Old World" cuisine - except for Italian - is completely out of favor, cast aside for Asian fusion and (at the other extreme) continual fancying up of American junk-food classics like hamburgers and pizza. Plus, college students are fickle, not particular at all about where their next cold brewskis come from. So even if a new owner held on to the land and the historic house it doesn't bode well for the business' being resumed.
I don't disagree with a lot of what you've said. I will say some of the gentrification along that strip is welcomed particularly what has been constructed on campus - the strip stores and student apartments on the northside of Calhoun. I think for a university with limited room to expand that this idea was a great use of space as the enrollment has been swelling over the last decade.

Sad to see the Friar's Club go. I used to workout there when I was a student. This was of course before UC completed construction on a worldclass student rec center about 7 years ago so perhaps the Friar's Club wasn't turning much profit with dwindling student memberships and relying on limited youth basketball clubs using the courts.

As for Christy's/Lenhardt's you're exactly right. The dining room has been experiencing limited patronage for years. It was this way during my time and upon recent visits it didn't appear to have gotten much better. Blame it on the elder patrons dying off, literally. Students have limited desire for schnitzel and chicken paprikash unless its made by mom (aka: free). Fast food like Chipotle, Jimmy John's, and the manifold pizza parlors around campus fit their budget much better than sit-down dining. With that being said the biergarten was regularly packed with students when the weather was nice and the bar food like potato pancakes and Goetta grilled cheese offered good value even if it translated to a soft midsection and the fast track to a triple bypass. Ownership had to be making some decent coin selling cheap beer Thursday through Saturday. Lord knows the labor overhead was minimal.

I know Erika and Joe are quite old and maybe Christy is looking for more of a home life as her 'baby' is probably six or seven years old now. Who knows, she could be moving and Erika and Joe are too old to run it themselves.

That building has tons of potential. It really is a mansion replete with three stories. Well before my time it was divided into a few rental apartments and one would think a savvy investor could easily re-open the upper levels for apartment rental income and operate the bar as a business. Just so long as it doesn't get demo'd. It would be a shame to see a Cincinnati landmark swept in to the dustbin.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:03 PM
 
Location: OH
688 posts, read 863,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomJones123 View Post
In spite of goyguy's lengthy speculation, Christy's has suffered from crappy owners for sometime now. Ownership told employees that they were taking a vacation over the Christmas season. Ownership then contacted employees to tell them that they would not reopen. Ya - Merry Christmas!

I would speculate that ownership at Christies believe they can make a windfall by offering up their property forsale. And they are probably right, especially with Usquare@The Loop filling in the green space quicker than you could say Rathskeller.
Sounds like you have intimate knowledge of the situation. I'm only hearing things second hand. Might you accept a direct message and divulge what you know? I have someone with the means and interest to maybe acquire the property if only they could get in touch with the present owners. This individual is interested in continuing the operation as a restaurant and bar - obviously with a name and change of decor / remodel - but they aren't interested in demolition.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:24 PM
 
Location: OH
688 posts, read 863,219 times
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By the way, the owners of Christy's / Lenhardt's also own 155 W McMillan the three story building west of the Moerlein mansion (Christy's / Lenhardt's) at the corner of W McMillan and W Clifton Ave. Anyone know if this building is for sale too? That would give a clue as to if the owners are getting out of the real estate business altogether or if they're just selling the bar/restaurant.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:25 AM
 
864 posts, read 1,196,697 times
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There was speculation a couple days ago on Urban Ohio that Towne Properties will be demolishing both buildings and putting in a parking lot. Looks like it might be happening.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,827,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen_master View Post
Sounds like you have intimate knowledge of the situation. I'm only hearing things second hand. Might you accept a direct message and divulge what you know? I have someone with the means and interest to maybe acquire the property if only they could get in touch with the present owners. This individual is interested in continuing the operation as a restaurant and bar - obviously with a name and change of decor / remodel - but they aren't interested in demolition.
I know a lot of people who were regulars there. I pretty much posted what I know. Really, not too much more to it than that. It was a profitable business run by scumbags. It was basically run into the ground and then the owners royally screwed the employees by closing w/o telling anyone it was happening. And they did it right before Christmas.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:20 PM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,826,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomJones123 View Post
I know a lot of people who were regulars there. I pretty much posted what I know. Really, not too much more to it than that. It was a profitable business run by scumbags. It was basically run into the ground and then the owners royally screwed the employees by closing w/o telling anyone it was happening. And they did it right before Christmas.

How many restaurants last 50+ years and survive a change in generations? Few, if any. Given that nearly any German restaurant that was open when Lenhardt's opened is long since gone, they did pretty darned well.

There is just not that much demand for German cooking these days.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:05 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,023,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
There is just not that much demand for German cooking these days.
Last I checked, Hofbrauhaus was doing ok, and Mecklenburg Gardens seems to be holding its own after about 155 years in business. Oh, and for those that say college kids don't eat this kind of food, tell that to the Miami grads who for nearly 20 years have been keeping the lights on at the Stein Keller in Oxford.

The problem is, there's nothing wrong with German cooking, it's just that no one does it well. The slop Lenhardt's was slinging gives German cuisine an undeserved bad name. I'm surprised that Lenhardt's lasted as long as it did. The last time I ate there was 5 years ago. The food was poorly prepared and presented, the atmosphere was dismal, the service less than attentive. Don't blame the cuisine for bad restaurant management.
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