Belleville restaurant gets indoor dining back after FOX Files investigation

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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.

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About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

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