Forget Oktoberfest — celebrate Schnitztemberfest this weekend by raising a stein to save Bay Ridge’s own German beer hall!
The city says that Fifth Avenue’s Schnitzel Haus needs $70,000 in renovations to meet building codes, and the owners are asking the neighborhood for a little freundlichkeit to help them bear the costs.
“It’s turning into a financial nightmare for us,” said Fred Urban, who bought the building between 73rd and 74th streets seven years ago.
Urban said he and his wife, Amber, were inexperienced at the time and did not hire an inspector to check if the building was up to code. He said that neither the bank nor the title company warned them that the previous owner’s conversion of a second-floor office into a dining room, an extension built in the back, and the relocation of the kitchen into the basement were all done without the necessary permits.
“Nobody ever said, ‘hey, there’s a problem here,’ ” Urban said.
When the Urbans decided to make some repairs upstairs last year, a city inspector slapped the building with a slew of citations, and forced the couple to close the second-floor dining room. To save their beloved beers and brats, the Urbans decided to hold a fund-raising feier — and asked some longtime musical friends for some help.
Regular performers at the eatery said they were more than happy to help out the Urbans, who provided a unique place for them to play.
“The Schnitzel Haus is a little different, and it’s really special to me,” said John Lepore, half of the singer-songwriter duo Whippoorwill.
Lepore said the Urbans created a space where he and his friend Paul Cassone could sing and strum original acoustic tunes, something hard to find in Bay Ridge — almost as hard to find as authentic German cuisine.
“They’ve made Paul and I feel really, really comfortable there, and anything we can do to help them out, we’re there,” said Lepore. “Besides, the food is fantastic.”
Ridge bands Lords of the Fjords and Potentially Unstable will also perform.
“Save the Schnitzel” at the Schnitzel Haus (7319 Fifth Ave. between 73rd and 74th streets in Bay Ridge) On Sept. 29 at 1 pm. $20. For tickets, go to http://sav
©2013 Community News Group
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