Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar lays off 305 employees in Gruene

Gruene restaurants and bars laid of more than 300 employees in March because of the coronavirus. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gruene restaurants and bars laid of more than 300 employees in March because of the coronavirus. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gruene restaurants and bars laid of more than 300 employees in March because of the coronavirus. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

As millions of people in the United States lose their jobs, recent filings from a local restaurant group have begun to show the economic toll the coronavirus has had in New Braunfels.

A filing with the Texas Workforce Commission stated that 305 employees were laid off in March by the Patrick S Molak Corporation and Gruene Texas Partnership 90, co-owned by Pat Molak and Mary Jane Nalley.

A request for comment from the owners did not receive an immediate reply.

Together, the two entrepreneurs own Gruene Hall, Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, Mozie's, Gruene General Store, the Grapevine, and Cantina Del Rio.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification was filed on April 9, and marked the date of the layoffs as March 19. The filing also lists the Gristmill as the source of the layoffs.


Typically, the WARN Act requires employers to provide notice at least 60 days ahead of mass layoffs—so that employees have time to seek new jobs—but according to the Employment and Training Administration, businesses can forgo early notification when layoffs are due to unforeseeable circumstances.

Molak acquired Gruene Hall in 1975, which celebrates its anniversary next month. He renovated the indoor/outdoor dance hall and opened it with Nalley as his business partner.

They went on to purchase additional properties in Gruene, including the Gristmill, and Molak and Nalley also own Josephine St. and Down on Grayson in San Antonio.

Hundreds of thousands of Texans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic arrived in the United States, and upward of 20 million Americans have lost their jobs.

Schlitterbahn alone cut more than 2,000 seasonal workers in March, and a reopening for the park could be weeks or months away, if it's able to open this year.

In the meantime, the park's lodgings have been made available to the city's first responders and emergency personnel if they need to self-quarantine away from their families.

Some estimates for the pandemic have suggested that social distancing measures could be required into 2022.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.