Iconic New Braunfels German Restaurant Destroyed by Fire

NEW BRAUNFELS — One of New Braunfels’ most iconic German restaurants went up in flames Friday evening.

  • Fire occurred during dinner rush
  • Restaurant declared a total loss
  • Owner plans to rebuild

New Braunfels fire officials said the fire that destroyed Friesenhaus German Restaurant may have been sparked from a cigarette that was not disposed of properly.

HELPFUL LINK | Friesenhaus website

The fire ripped through the restaurant, beginning at the back and spreading into the attic. Fire officials said the cigarette likely sparked an ADA-accessible wheelchair ramp in the back and due to the windy conditions, it took nearly three hours to extinguish the fire. The building has since been declared a total loss.

The restaurant's majority owner, Vance Hinton, said he got the phone call Friday evening about the fire and originally thought it was a joke.

"My friend on the phone said, 'Man your restaurant's on fire.' I said, 'Come on, don't mess with me. Go grab the fire extinguisher and put it out.' He goes, 'No the fire trucks and everybody are here. Dude, this is a big fire,'" said Hinton.

Hinton said the fire happened during the dinner rush, with customers having to be evacuated. He said their plates of food are still inside.

"It really was a shame to have this happen at this juncture because we had turned this place around. Fridays and Saturdays were amazing nights," Hinton said.

 

The plan is to rebuild, but Hinton's not optimistic a reopening will happen this year.

"When it starts getting into October and November, that's when it starts getting really busy with Wurstfest going on. We may miss that this year, it's basically September, so I'm not optimistic,” said Hinton.

While Hinton joked about having to make lemonade out of the lemons that he's been dealt, the reality, he said, is everyone is very heartbroken.

"It's kind of left a bunch of us devastated. But we have to get beyond this. It's nothing that other people haven't dealt with and we'll deal with it. A lot of the customers have expressed interest about when are we going to be reopened again because they want to come back. We are going to work diligently and we’ll get it done as quickly as absolutely possible,” said Hinton.

Hinton has about 60 percent of his displaced employees working at his sister restaurant, Faust Brewing Company, where he's considering bringing in some of the more popular Friesenhaus dishes in the meantime, like the schnitzels.