Remember when it was announced that beloved German-themed bar Von Trier would be closing and reopening as an “upscale cocktail lounge”? Remember when everyone got really mad about that idea? Remember when the “save Von Trier” petitions started flooding in? Remember when we mocked those petitions and said, “Hey, if we wanted to ‘save’ Von Trier we probably should have gone to Von Trier more often”? Well, skip that last bit, because it looks like the whole “save Von Trier’ thing actually worked.

This morning, Von Trier owners John and Cindy Sidoff announced that due to the outpouring of support over the summer, they’ve decided to keep the East Side bar’s name and concept. Wes Shaver and Mike Sorge—owners of Black Sheep and managers of The Schwabenhof—will be brought on to help with operations and programming. The bar will undergo renovations in January 2018, and reopen in early February 2018.

“After much consideration and conversations with Mike and Wes, Cindy and I were rejuvenated and decided to ‘go with our gut’ and give Von Trier the injection of energy it needs to thrive in this exciting renaissance of the neighborhood,” says John Sidoff in a press release.

The reopening of Von Trier’s kitchen, a new menu, and a Friday fish fry are just a few of the things planned for the bar’s renovation.

“After making the decision to continue with Von Trier, we realized it’s time to make some improvements to make the overall experience at Von Trier exceptional, and we feel we need show off what’s already here…not cover it up,” says Sidoff. “Our space is full of beautiful murals, all hand painted and carefully preserved—so why create distractions from the historically beautiful aspects of the space. Our new lighting will draw eyes and attention to these unique features vs. distracting and taking away from them.”

Here’s the full press release. Hell yeah.

VON TRIER IS HERE TO STAY. OWNERS JOHN AND CINDY SIDOFF ANNOUNCES
COLLABORATION WITH SHAVER AND SORGE ON PRESERVING NORTH AVENUE SPOT
Von Trier will include interior upgrades, new programming and the reopening of the kitchen in 2018

Milwaukee, WI – Tuesday, October 31, 2017– John and Cindy Sidoff, owners of North Avenue’s historic Von Trier announced they are retaining the iconic Von Trier name and concept and will collaborate with Wes Shaver and Mike Sorge on operations and programming moving forward. Shaver and Sorge currently own Black Sheep as well as manage the operations of The Schwabenhof, another Germanic Milwaukee institution. Shaver and Sorge are also two of three partners at The Love Shack. Von Trier will remain open through early January 2018 before undergoing renovations and updates. Sidoff, Shaver, and Sorge plan to re-open early February 2018.

“This summer has been a whirlwind to put it mildly…I had no idea how many people truly wanted to see Von Trier thrive during the North Avenue Renaissance; the outpouring of support, visitors, and personal messages was overwhelming,” Said Sidoff. He added, “We’re seeing shifts in our social behavior; after much consideration and conversations with Mike and Wes, Cindy and I were rejuvenated and decided to ‘go with our gut’ and give Von Trier the injection of energy it needs to thrive in this exciting renaissance of the neighborhood.”

Sidoff aligned with Shaver and Sorge shortly after the announcement was made that Von Trier would be closing and a new concept (a mid-century cocktail lounge) would be next for the popular corner location. After the three discussed the potential for Von Trier, it was a natural fit as the experienced, North Avenue entrepreneur Sidoff would work along side the two emerging restaurateurs. Shaver and Sorge look forward to preserving Von Trier’s history and concept as well as enhancing it by implementing some exciting new additions such as a tap wine system, rejuvenated stein club/ German beer programming and re-launch of the food program. In addition, there will be visual and infrastructure renovations being made including a new sound system, improved lighting, seating and table surfaces.

“After making the decision to continue with Von Trier, we realized it’s time to make some improvements to make the overall experience at Von Trier exceptional and we feel we need show off what’s already here…not cover it up,” said Sidoff. “Our space is full of beautiful murals, all hand painted and carefully preserved- so why create distractions from the historically beautiful aspects of the space. Our new lighting will draw eyes and attention to these unique features vs. distracting and taking away from them,” he added.

The re-opening of Von Trier’s kitchen is a major component of the Von Trier re- brand. Previously known as a “wurst house,” Shaver and Sorge plan to implement an impressive and fun menu including unique sausages, sandwiches, and sharables. In addition, a Friday-Fish Fry is proposed complete with German potato salad, hand made potato pancakes, coleslaw & rye bread accompanied by a live polka band weekly. The menu also will include Schnitzel Sandwich – topped with herbs and fried egg, Cheese and Wurst Platter- assortment of sausages/leberkase, kraut, cabbage, bread. The Complete menu will be announced in January.

Before Von Trier’s renovations begin in early January there are two notable events happening. Von Trier will remain open through the holiday season showcasing its popular Christmas Village for the Month of December. In addition, beginning mid November, the original mid-century mural (from Rieder’s, the high-end cocktail lounge before becoming Von Trier in 1978) will be on display. While the Karl Von Trier mural that adorns the main bar undergoes its refurbishing, we invite guests to see this one of a kind piece of history while it’s on display before setting up for Christmas Village.

“We’re excited!,” Sidoff stated. “We love Von Trier. We love North Avenue. We’re looking forward to making some changes and showing how Von Trier can be A PART of the renaissance….not resistant to it. We are confident our enhanced programming, culinary advancements and property improvements that we’ll feel right at home with the emerging new places.”