THREATENED: Berghoff Interior “Improvements” to Carve Out Historic Dining Room

Interior Modifications to Berghoff Dining Room, Photo Credit: Ward Miller / Preservation Chicago
Interior Modifications to Berghoff Dining Room, Rendering Credit: Berghoff Restaurant

During a recent lunch meeting at the historic Berghoff Restaurant, Ward Miller observed interior changes underway that will impact the main historic dining room on the main floor as well as the Old Berghoff Rooms and Bar on the lower level. These changes are being made by Berghoff ownership to accommodate onsite micro-brewing tanks in an effort to help market their new Adams Street Brewery branded beer. The reconfiguration will result in the loss of significant amounts of historic trim work and wood paneling and be disruptive to the flow of the main dining hall. Many Chicagoans enjoy and support local Chicago breweries without requiring brewery tanks to be located in the center of historic dining rooms.

With construction already underway, we sought out restaurant owner Peter Berghoff and after an extensive conversation and impromptu tour, made the case to reduce the impact the interior dining rooms. Although construction is already underway, the hope is that more of the historic material will be maintained and reinstalled. Additionally, Preservation Chicago tweeted photos which generated many comments encouraging a greater appreciation for the historic details and materials.

First opened in 1898 by Herman Joseph Berghoff, The Berghoff Restaurant is beloved and iconic Chicago restaurant. It survived prohibition by offering free sandwiches and selling legal near-beer. It was issued Chicago Liquor License No. 1 after prohibition was repealed in 1933. The Berghoff Restaurant has been an important part of Chicago’s past and Preservation Chicago hopes that The Berghoff Restaurant will continue to be a thriving part of Chicago long into future.

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