Von Trier will remain open, add more German food to menu

Iconic East Side German bar will renovate in early 2018


After announcing this summer that Milwaukee’s iconic German beer bar, Von Trier, would close after nearly 40 years and reopen as an upscale cocktail lounge, its owners have had a change of heart.

John and Cindy Sidoff announced Tuesday they would retain the Von Trier name and are planning to collaborate with fellow restaurant owners Wes Shaver and Mike Sorge to continue operating the bar.

Interior of Von Trier.

Shaver and Sorge currently own Black Sheep and are two of the three partners at The Love Shack, both in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. They also manage The Schwabenhof in Menomonee Falls.

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Von Trier will remain open through early January before undergoing renovations. The plan is to reopen in February.

“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,” Sidoff said. “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 versus distracting and taking away from them.”

Once reopened, the new menu will include sausages, sandwiches and a Friday fish fry that includes German potato salad.

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In August, the Sidoffs announced they would close Von Trier, prompting community support for the bar to stay open.

“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,” Sidoff said. “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.”

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