When Kenny and LeAnn Weiss temporarily closed their German restaurant for renovations in July, they initially only thought it would be for a month or so.
“We would see (projects) and think ‘this is going to take us a day,'” LeAnn said. “And then its like ‘no this is going to take you three (days).'”
“Both of us had that ‘oh this is going to be easy attitude,'” Kenny said.
But for six months, Weiss’ Gasthaus dining room in Roseland remained closed, offering carryout and catering when they could and learning just how long renovations and construction can actually take.
“I swear I was changing our voicemail and the sign on the door every month, saying (we’re opening) next month, next month, next month,” LeAnn said. “We really didn’t anticipate it taking so long, but I come from a sales background and he comes from a cooking background, so we are not DIY home renovation people.”
Now, six months later, the German restaurant at 115 N. Dixie Way will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 5, sporting a fresh coat of paint, new floors and two entirely new features to their space.
Kenny Weiss opened Weiss’ Gasthaus with his German-born mother Christine in 2013, offering traditional German dishes, like homemade schnitzel, spaetzle, beef rouladen and sausage and kraut. Christine passed in May 2019 and Kenny kept the restaurant going, but contemplated closing it down.
“We were kind of in a holding pattern, as to what to do with the place and what we were going to do,” Kenny said. “After my mother’s death, … I thought it was time to stop. But the way life works where, if you go with the flow, sometimes it’ll just take you where you’re supposed to be. So that’s kind of what happened to us.”
In summer 2021, the building owner offered to sell the property to the Weisses on a land contract and, once the deal was finalized, the couple decided it was time to freshen things up.
The entrance of the 1,500-square-foot space has been transformed into a deli and mercantile area. Once open, the Weisses plan to serve Kenny’s freshly made cold salads, brats and more.
“We are going into making our own brats and we do so much anyway,” Kenny said. “We’re already dry aging our roast beef, marinating our sauerbraten, brining our corned beef — its all done in house.”
And it won’t be all German specific either. The Weisses plan to offer pasta salads, pizzas and more in the deli area for easy takeaway options. Also in the deli area will be German-favorite spreads, jams and cookies, which will be available for purchase. And while the dining room will open this week, the Weisses are still waiting on finalized equipment for the deli but anticipate opening it within the next few months.
“It used to be a sitting area for people waiting to be seated and felt like a missed opportunity as far as making additional revenue,” LeAnn said.
Also newly added to the space is the Radler Room — a space in the back of the restaurant where overflow seating used to be, but has since been renovated into a small bar. Named after the beverage that consists of a 50-50 split of beer and lemonade, the Radler Room will also be a place to celebrate cyclists (the German word radler translates to cyclist in English). The Weisses plan to add bicycle racks near the newly constructed patio to encourage cyclists who may be riding on nearby trails to stop by and refill with a beer. New beer taps will also showcase a handful of authentic German beer like Weihenstephan and Köstritzer, as well as craft beer from area breweries. A root beer is also on tap in the new bar and German wine will be available at the restaurant.
“Hopefully it will be a place where people will come, bicycle here, and sit and enjoy,” LeAnn said.
The Weisses also have plans to “slowly” adjust and “elevate” the menu, by using more ingredients from local merchants like Bendix Coffee, Myco Mushroom, Laney Honey and Crystal Springs Creamery in their recipes. Customers will likely see more vegetarian-friendly options on the menu, as well as hamburgers with house made pretzel buns. The Weisses also plan to introduce specialty nights, like prime rib or lasagna, to give those who may not like German food all the time an opportunity to still be able to try the restaurant out.
But in case the collection of German-made cuckoo clocks doesn’t convince you otherwise, Weiss’ Gasthaus is still a place that pays homage to where Kenny’s family came from.
“This is still a German house, so you’re still getting a full plate,” Kenny said.
Weiss’ Gasthaus will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. and will have Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch and the deli section is scheduled to be open by spring time.
Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.