Old Germany Restaurant set to reopen after closing its doors earlier this year
CHOCTAW, Okla. – A restaurant that has been a popular gathering place for more than 40 years is set to reopen after closing its doors earlier this year.
“It’s difficult to close something my family has worked so tirelessly to build,” said Mike Turek, operator of the restaurant and bar. “But we want to say thank you to everyone, from our vendors and staff to our customers, who have honored us by making the Turek’s part of your lives.”
Old Germany Restaurant and Turek’s Tavern opened its doors in 1976 and has been serving authentic German fare ever since.
Owners said dwindling restaurant attendance and changing consumer tastes played a role in the decision.
Along with the closing of the restaurant, organizers said Oktoberfest would also be coming to an end.
“We have hosted the event and picked up the majority of costs for years,” said Turek. “Annually, we lost money, but it was such a mainstay of the community that we felt we had to carry on. I think it’s going to be a huge loss to Choctaw and to our state.”
Following the news of the restaurant’s closing, many people reached out to the Turek family to offer their condolences.
But some offered a solution.
According to the Choctaw Times, Tylar Colton and his wife Kristin agreed to step in as investors to allow for a June 14th reopening of Choctaw’s Old Germany Restaurant.
“They saw the outpouring on social media after we closed down, and they came to us and said ‘We can’t let that happen. What do we need to do to reopen Old Germany?’” said Mike Turek. “I explained what we needed and the changes we needed to make. They stepped up, and we shook hands last Sunday.”
Turek’s Tavern is set to reopen to the public at 10 a.m. June 14.
“I’m just elated these two people, Tylar and Kristin, came in as guardian angels and are now going to be part of the family. It’s just neat to see that they stepped up to the plate and said they’re not letting it go away after 42 years,” said Turek. “There were people interested in buying the land for other purposes, but these two really wanted to keep this tradition going. It’s still going to be a family business, and they’re just next in line as family.”
While the tavern reopens, the attached Old Germany Restaurant will be blocked off for renovations.
“We should have construction complete and all the changes done for a grand reopening August 1,” said Turek.
“We’re just going to do four days this year, because we’re already in crunch time to get enough stuff ordered from Germany. Now we just have to get with Ashley Bower, our volunteer coordinator, to get the troops rallied so we don’t lose this great event,” said Turek. “It will just be four days this year, but should make for a great event.”
Turek told the Choctaw Times that he believes a new look, combined with a new menu, will allow the popular restaurant to rebound, hopefully surpassing its former glory.
“Our hybrid menu will be simplified and more price conscious. It really just needed an update. The concept of the old world German cuisine just got stale, and it wasn’t being embraced by the younger crowd. So we needed to change that, but I need to keep enough of the old menu to keep our regulars, that have supported us over the years, happy and coming back,” explained Turek.