By Victoria Remley
The Rhine Haus Bier Hall hosted its inaugural Oktoberfest with hundreds of people enjoying German beer (“bier”), food and entertainment. The beer hall will be opening soon on Phelps Street for the city of Youngstown to get a taste of German culture.
Christian Rinehart, owner and director of operations, said the restaurant will be styled after the Munich beer halls and will serve traditional German food and beer.
The restaurant will feature live music and various polka bands, some of which that will play rock ’n’ roll music. Customers may also hear an occasional Journey song played on an accordion.
“They’ll definitely get exposure to a culture you don’t normally see,” Rinehart said. “German culture is definitely very fun and upbeat. It’s just like an Irish pub, but more lively.”
Rinehart also owns O’Donold’s Irish Pub & Grill, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts and Mission Taco, and said he plans on opening two more restaurants.
He is opening Rhine Haus in memory of his father who died when Rinehart was 13 years old.
“My dad, every Saturday and Sunday, we would go out and do long drives,” Rinehart said. “[He] would never tell you where you were going. We’d listen to polkas and go to a ton of Oktoberfests together. That was like our thing, so it’s kind of in memory of him.”
Rinehart traveled to Germany to research beer halls before planning Rhine Haus. He personally designs all of his restaurants and builds them with his construction company, Justice League Restaurant Group.
Mark Worsencroft, Rhine Haus’s second director of operations, said the restaurant will be a cross between old school German heritage and fun. He said in today’s world, nobody goes to grandma and grandpa’s anymore to learn how to do things from the old country.
“We’re not so deep in German that we’re going to lose people,” Worsencroft said. “It’s more about lighthearted fun and getting some of that heritage incorporated in their life. It’ll be high energy and entertaining.”
The best feature of Rhine Haus may be the feeling customers get when walking through the front door. Worsencroft said the restaurant will allow people to get in touch with their German roots.
Kelly Smith, a daytime bartender at Suzie’s and whose father plays polka music, said Rhine Haus will be something unseen in the Youngstown area.
“There’s nothing quite like what Christian is putting together down here,” she said. “It’s going to be a very unique and I think an enjoyable experience for everybody.”
Smith said the best feature of Rhine Haus will be the pierogies with over 30 topping and filling options. She said the second-best feature will be the polka music.
“It’ll be nice to kind of reach back into my childhood a little bit,” she said.
Rhine Haus’ hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, noon to 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Sunday menu will include a brunch buffet with endless mimosas.