Choctaw landmark stays open through funding woes

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CHOCTAW, Okla. - Old Germany Restaurant has been in Choctaw for over four decades but, earlier this year, it closed its doors. After struggling to find funding two different times and undertaking a huge construction project, the staple of Choctaw is almost ready to roll.

"I was sad when I got a call from Mike saying he had to shut the doors. This was like home, everybody knows everybody here so I was upset." said Anthony Unale, a loyal Old Germany customer.

Unale was shocked when he heard the news back in April that the Choctaw landmark since 1976 was going to close it doors.

"People were really bummed that we closed," said co-owner Sammie Turek.

"My customers from the 80-90s are no longer around, so the Old Germany clientele have disappeared a little bit so we needed to do a major re-adjustment," said owner Mike Turek.

A Choctaw couple appeared to come to the rescue with funding for a remodel to update the place. So, Old Germany opened back up and began a face-lift, costing tens of thousands of dollars - but the loan fell through, leaving the Tureks in a bind.

"Funding didn't work out the way we hoped, so we went ahead and opened and then it staggered along. You just make it work," Mike said.

The big change: gone is the big wall that divided the tavern from the old dinning area. Mike also added a play area.

On the restaurant side, they kept the old world feel but updated with new paint, ceiling tile and carpet. And, the new menu - still all the old favorites from the 1889 cookbook his mom brought over from Germany along with the new tavern favorites.

"It's been a fun adventure. It's probably something we should have done a long time ago," Turek said.

"I'm just beyond excited about what they are doing here," Unale said.

The Tureks plan on a grand reopening in the next two weeks.

They also plan to continue to put on the Choctaw Oktoberfest. The event drew over 27,000 people back in August-September 2018.

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