Tuesday night I had the luck to be invited by my friend Paul to the private grand re-opening party of the Berghoff Bar, or as it is now to be called -- 17/West. Name changes aside, my worries were assuaged to a large degree when we walked in. The west wall has been taken out and café style seating installed. The lunch counter is still just ahead of this area and otherwise things are fairly intact. The expansion feels a bit strange, but it does make the business feel airy and bright (oh, they also put in big windows, or rather, took the dimming shading and foliage off the old).
That glorious wooden bar is still as beautiful as ever. The old brass Berghoff taps are gone and have been replaced by tacky plastic and the liquor behind the bar has been removed and replaced with white table cloths and empty clear glasses. This last feature made the place feel a bit like an office party in an unfinished board room, but I'll live.
A nice woman named Nancy who is helping to run things took us for a small tour of the premises. Above you can see the old back dining room which is currently set up for a catering event. In case you haven't heard, Carlyn Berghoff has started a catering business out of the old site. (Paul's sister is getting married in a week and they have the rehersal dinner planned for this location, I will report back on his comments.)
Just off the main dining room is their new 'tasting room' for more intimate gatherings. It is a nice idea, but I would curious to see if they use both spaces simultaneously, that could become bothersome.
(My apologies for the poor picture quality.)
The bar area has a new menu of German fare, tapas, and desserts. Many of the items from the German menu sounded similar to their old offerings so Paul and I had to try our favorites. Paul was happy to report that the sauerbraten tastes as good as ever. I ordered the new version of their mushroom strudel. It was tasty, but made me yearn for the old days. The phyllo dough is somewhat dry tasting and stuffed with goat cheese, not mushrooms. The mushrooms come in the form of a puddle on the side that you supposedly dip the cheese stick in. Not what I am looking for. Oh well. We gave Nancy our input and hopefully we will see some of it put to use.
In any event, it was great to be back in there and to see that the old wood bar I love hasn't become full of chrome and leather. The staff is completely different, but the regulars were all back and seemed pretty content. I will definitely be re-frequenting the Berghoff. . ahem. . I mean 17/West when it reopens to the public soon.