Old Town Inn reopens
Iconic village restaurant back in business after remodel, ownership change
Germantown — During the past decade, Germantown has consistently made the "Best Places In America To Live" list in publications such as Family Circle and Money Magazine. While the village itself was winning praise, one of its most iconic areas, Main Street, was experiencing a significant downturn. With local businesses and consumers migrating to new retail developments, one by one, the shops along Main Street were forced to close or relocate.
On Tuesday, one of Main Street's most popular venues, the historic Old Town Inn, W15841 Main St., reopened to the public. New owner Chaz Hastings and his team have spent the better part of a year and nearly $1 million in restoring and remodeling the venue that has served as a cornerstone of Germantown's Main Street since 1850.
In years past, the restaurant had become known as one of the spots for BBQ ribs in southern Wisconsin. Unfortunately, due to a series of changes in ownership and the economy, Old Town Inn and the neighboring Beir Stube both closed in 2012. In addition to weather damage suffered while the venues sat vacant, the interiors and structures of both venues had not aged well and were badly in need of repair.
"I always keep an eye out for really unique properties in the area, so when I saw Old Town Inn and Bier Stube come up, I was certainly interested. Looking around, I could see great potential, but I also saw that both would need a significant amount of work," new owner Chaz Hastings said.
As the owner of Milwaukee's Ride Entertainment Group consisting of Milwaukee Harley-Davidson, Tally Ho Pub & Grill, Madam Belle's Pub & two Bottoms Up venues, Hastings wasn't completely sure he had the time to devote to two more properties.
"Eventually, I argued myself into moving forward, in part because I do see tremendous opportunities with both these venues. They each have so much character, are completely unique and their history is so entwined with this area, I couldn't 'not' do it," Hastings said.
Initially, the plan was to work on both venues simultaneously, but due to the extensive renovations required at Old Town Inn, that venue had to wait until Bier Stube was completed. Having successfully launched Bier Stube midway through last year, the focus then shifted to Old Town Inn. Completely remodeling the interior, dining room, bar and kitchen, was a painstaking process as the group tried to retain as much of the venue's original character as possible. While the updating the building was time consuming, perhaps the most nerve-racking part of the remodel was the menu.
"Amazing BBQ ribs and French onion soup were two things that Old Town Inn was known for. We wanted to make sure that whatever we did, we kept these two items and built the rest of our menu around them where possible," Hastings said. "The menu had to be spot on."
"We appreciate Chaz purchasing and revitalizing the two properties on Main Street," Germantown Village President Dean Wolters said. "People in the area want sit down dining options outside of the typical chain restaurants. Bringing back Old Town Inn provides the community with a quality, destination restaurant and retains a piece of local history".
For information on the restaurant's hours and activities, call (262) 293-3098.
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