Owner of Plano's Bavarian Grill fights to keep 27-year business afloat

The Weihenstephaner Pils, a hoppy pale lager, is one of the German beers Bavarian Grill serves straight from the tap. (Courtesy Bavarian Grill)
The Weihenstephaner Pils, a hoppy pale lager, is one of the German beers Bavarian Grill serves straight from the tap. (Courtesy Bavarian Grill)

The Weihenstephaner Pils, a hoppy pale lager, is one of the German beers Bavarian Grill serves straight from the tap. (Courtesy Bavarian Grill)

The Plano restaurant industry has been reeling for months from consumer fears and coronavirus-related restrictions, but for one Plano establishment, it was particularly disruptive.

Bavarian Grill, a restaurant with a 27-year presence in the community that serves authentic German cuisine, was built around its in-person dining experience that fostered a group of loyal customers.

When coronavirus fears began to grip the city, however, some of the strengths of that dine-in-centric business model became liabilities. Owner Juergen Mahneke said he knew he would not have enough takeout traffic to justify keeping the kitchen open, so he had to shut down altogether.

Along with many other restaurants, Bavarian Grill reopened in May for dine-in service with a number of new safety measures in place.

After the state pulled back restaurant capacity to 50% in late June, however, more of Mahneke’s customers started staying home again. Fear of the virus drove away some of his regular guests and employees. Even with just the standard 6-foot rule in place, he was unsure whether he could consistently bring in more than 35% to 40% of his prior revenue, he said.

With federal loans for small businesses running out, Mahneke said he was having to contemplate closing the business he brought to the area 27 years ago, and that decision could come “sooner rather than later,” he said June 29.

“I don’t really see much light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the numbers going up,” Mahneke said.

The grill was the product of Mahneke’s long career managing hotels and restaurants. His work spanned from Frankfurt, Germany, to Atlanta and Boston before it brought him to the Greater Dallas area. Bavarian Grill—which opened in Plano in 1993 and has not moved since—was the first restaurant Mahneke ever owned, he said. Mahneke lives in Plano, two minutes away.

“I think what we very much appreciate is the guests supporting us by visiting, even by doing takeout orders,” Mahneke said. “If they continue to do that we will do our best to stay open as long as I can.”

Bavarian Grill

221 W. Parker Road, Plano



Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tue.-Sat., closed Sun.-Mon.
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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