After 42 years of drinks, meals and memories Old Germany Restaurant closed its doors for good Monday, April 16.
Changing consumer tastes and dwindling restaurant attendance were the catalyst for what locals considered a rapid and unexpected closure.
Shortly after celebrating 42 years of business, the Turek family was forced to make the decision which drew to a close an era of authentic German food, drink and fun in eastern Oklahoma County.
Old Germany Restaurant was established March 1, 1976 by Heinz and Christel Turek just two years after their family immigrated from the small town of Bad Soden, Germany.
Operated by Christel with each of the Turek children (Ute, Birgit, Olaf, George, Jutta and Mike) being involved at some level in the operation, the restaurant grew from a small “sausage stand” to one of the state’s most celebrated fine dining destinations.
Turek’s Tavern opened five years ago as an effort to provide something unique to the area and attract consumers whose tastes had seemed to change over the last four decades.
While attendance remained high in the tavern, the fine dining that had helped put Choctaw on the map had seen a significant decrease in attendance over the last several years.
Since 1991 Old Germany has hosted an Oktoberfest that has grown from an inaugural attendance of 1,200 to a celebration that attracts around 50,000 people from around the world each year.
As part of the Old Germany closing, the tavern and Choctaw Oktoberfest will also be closing.
“We have hosted the event and picked up the majority of costs for years,” said Mike Turek. “Annually, we lost money, but it was such a mainstay of the community that we felt we had to carry on. I think it’s going to be a huge loss to Choctaw and to our state.”
The family hopes to sell the restaurant and bar to a company that will be as involved in the community as the Turek family has been over its long history.
“When we started, German food was a novelty and people drove for hours to sample our authentic European fare. Unfortunately, newer consumers are not drawn to this type of dining, but in light of our huge community support, I’m confident a new buyer will come to this area and have the same patronage we have over the years.”
After 42 years of business, the Turek family bids their customers a fond farewell and “Auf Wiedersehen.“