'Schnitzel happens!': Fritzl's owners announce closing after 36 years in Lake Zurich
Fritzl's European Restaurant & Pub, a mainstay for 36 years on Route 12 in Lake Zurich, has closed.
The business' gaming area will remain open until the end of the year, but the family-owned restaurant served its last dish Oct. 10.
Robert "Bob" Tschurtz and two sons opened the restaurant at Route 12 and North Old Rand Road in 1985. Named after Bob's father, Fritz, a master meat cutter in Austria, it became a staple for traditional German food and a community gathering place for banquets and other occasions.
"It is with heavy hearts that we must announce that the time has come to say farewell," owners Rob and Peter Tschurtz posted on the restaurant's Facebook page.
In their message to customers, the brothers did not say why they decided to close.
"As we have said many times over the years, "SCHNITZEL HAPPENS!" they posted.
But Peter Tschurtz said the last 18 months of navigating COVID restrictions and a subsequent lack of staff led to the decision.
"The main reason is we don't have enough help," he said.
"We've been working harder than ever," he added. "There are only so many holes you can plug by yourself."
One Facebook commenter noted the business had been closed three days a week and suspected what was coming. Another bemoaned the loss of another good supper club.
The brothers said it has been an "extremely rewarding" experience and thanked customers and employees for the memories.
"We have been blessed throughout the years with many dedicated vendors, fantastic customers and friends, and especially our loyal and hardworking staff," they posted on Facebook. "They have always made Fritzl's a warm and inviting place, and therefore a success."
Goulash, schnitzel and other traditional dishes were among the favorites.
Bob and Fritz came to the U.S. in 1951 and a decade later opened Black Forest Market in Chicago. Black Forest Finer Foods and Restaurant opened in Morton Grove in 1966. Bob opened Alpine Inn Restaurant in Glenview a few years later.
By 2003, Bob and Fritz had died and the family no longer owned those businesses. But the tradition of daily personal involvement was kept alive at Fritzl's.
Peter Tschurtz said his phone has been ringing constantly since the doors closed.
"People have a lot of memories," he said.
But the restaurant industry has changed.
"It's time to spend some time with family," he said. "This will be the first time I haven't worked Thanksgiving in 29 years."