West Allis Kegel’s Inn receives $ 40,000 grant for historic restaurant


A German restaurant that has been part of West Allis since 1924 will receive a raise of $ 40,000 to help its operations.

Kegel’s Inn, 5901 W. National Ave., is one of 25 historic and culturally significant American restaurants owned by under-represented groups that will receive funding through the Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant program.

The program is funded by American Express and administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The investment of more than $ 1 million was announced by American Express in February to preserve historic restaurants as they continue to navigate the pandemic and plan for their recovery. It was one of a series of initiatives announced by the company to support the restaurant community nationwide.

Julian Kegel, fourth-generation owner of Kegel’s Inn with his wife Stephanie, said he discovered the grant on his birthday, May 2.

“It was the best birthday present I have ever received,” Kegel said. “It was just a beautiful day to celebrate all the hard work we had done in the restaurant over the past few years.”

Opened by John and Anna Kegel as “Kegel’s Place” in December 1924, Kegel’s Inn offers locals fine dining paired with a warm atmosphere including unique hand-painted murals, an original mahogany bar and other touches that have remained unchanged throughout the establishment’s decades. business.

Kegel said he applied for the grant at the suggestion of Shaun Mueller, West Allis’ community and economic development coordinator, who told Kegel that Kegel’s Inn would be a good fit for the program.

Kegel said the money will be used to expand the restaurant’s outdoor seating and make exterior upgrades to the 100-year-old building.

It will also allow the company to repair an original neon tube sign hanging above the side entrance to the beer garden. The “Faucet and Dining Room” sign has not been in operation for at least 30 years.

“So we’re going to sort this out and light up the cafe above the beer garden, so that will be a nice touch for the exterior enhancement,” he said.

While the current grant will help, this is only the latest installment in a series of efforts by the restaurant to stay viable during the pandemic.

Kegel said they opened his office to provide drive-thru for the restaurant’s Friday fish fries, spent around $ 25,000 on yurts to provide social-distancing dining options, and received other funding related to the restaurant. pandemic through economic disaster loans and an On Small Business Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Kegel said.

The establishment of the restaurant’s beer garden several years ago also proved invaluable during the COVID-19 era, he said.

The 25 restaurants that received the grants were selected by American Express, in partnership with the National Trust, with input from a chef advisory committee.

American Express general affairs manager Jennifer Skyler said American Express is honored to play a role in supporting Kegel’s Inn and other small historic restaurants that have served their communities for decades.

“This program extends our legacy of supporting small businesses by helping to preserve these iconic restaurants and support their recovery from the pandemic so they can continue to welcome customers for years to come,” Skyler said in a press release.

Kegel’s Inn was the only restaurant in Wisconsin to receive the grant.

Contact Bob Dohr at 262-361-9140 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ BobDohr1.


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