Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The lingering aroma of sauerbraten and scandal

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

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The old Bear needs a new tenant
For decades, this unassuming storefront at 7815 Wornall Road was the home of the Berliner Bear, a popular German restaurant owned and operated by Joel and Nettie Womack -- and, years later, by their son Bill. They served very good sausages, potato salad and apple strudel. The popularity of German food has always waxed and waned in Kansas City, despite the city's historically large German-American population. Berliner Bear was, until the Rheinland Restaurant opened in Independence, one of the few places in the metro that still served sauerbraten and weinerschnitzel.


The joint had grown a bit dowdy over the years, but it experienced a renewed flush of popularity in 2004 when it began serving breakfast on weekends.

And then, the following year, everything fell apart after Bill Womack

rented the facility to a group of neo-Nazis for a festive little Aryan

assembly that garnered quite a bit of negative publicity.

Womack denied that he knew the Swastika-sporting gang who rented the

venue were neo-Nazis (even though many of the guests looked like cast

members from a community theater production of Cabaret). It didn't matter: The restaurant closed soon afterwards.

But the facility is still for rent, in case some ambitious restaurateur wants to revive the location's past glory as a German

restaurant or maybe -- shades of Cabaret! -- turn it into the Kit Kat Klub!

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