BELLEVILLE, Il–One of the biggest beer halls in the country is now open for limited inside dining after Fox 2 stepped in.
It was illegal last month to sit in certain spaces in the restaurant – that are now open for seating.
In November 25, we showed you Hofbrauhaus’s 64-thousand square foot dining room. It was a space you could argue is safer than most family homes. But to Illinois – it’s still indoor dining. It’s banned. Hofbrauhau General Manager Guy Crouch said they even caught flak from some customers who couldn’t understand the logic.
He said at the time, “I understand that and I empathize with that but the rule is the rule and we have to abide by the rules.”
But during Fox 2’s visit, we found the health department appeared to be wrong about one of its own rules. Here’s what we reported about that on November 25th.
“Not only are they prohibited from opening inside but the St. Clair county health department won’t even allow them to seat people by their huge sliding doors. Health inspectors say 50 percent of the wall needs to open to make it legal. With all three sliders open, it appears to be 50 percent of the wall, yet health inspectors insist it’s not.”
Fox 2 then followed up, sending picture examples to the St. Clair County Health Department and asking inspectors to double check the size of the sliding doors.
Health Director Barb Hohlt acted immediately. She said, “Absolutely and please feel free, any facilities that have those questions, please call us. We want to do everything we can to help you. Again we’re not here to be punitive we want to be able to help everybody get through this.”
Hofbrauhaus GM Guy Crouch also followed up with us to say, “It’s tremendous.” They’re now approved for dine in with the doors open and within 8 feet of the outside. Crouch added, “Thank you for your help in getting this taken care of.”
Executive Chef Andrew Jeffery says they’ve had their best business in weeks adding, “It was just so long, it was emotional to see people out here and just ordering off the menu and just enjoying themselves like they used to.”
From a low point of making only $200 one night (including tips), now the restaurant says it has a fighting chance.