The German House Reimagined

Betsy Harris SWQ Autumn 2019

With the departing of Buta Pub from Historic German House, there was growing concern as to what would occupy the historic structure originally built in 1908. The reader will be pleased to know that the revitalization to the building has created an awe-inspiring event space with a very exciting future. Originally a parish hall for Saint Bonaventure, a group of German organizations purchased the building and kept the space private until the 1960s. It was then that a small business owner opened the downstairs to the public as the German House. Not much had been done to the building since its original structure and it wasn’t until the mid 1980sthat Ron and Norma Maier purchased the space.

Chris Grocki has been a part of the food and beverage scene in Rochester for 17 years. Inlate 2018, Grocki was introduced to Ron and Norma Maier through events specialists Zach and Agathi Graham who had been associated with the Historic German House space when Buta Pub was still in residence. Arbor Venues made the connection between the Maiers and Grocki and still maintained a primary consultation relationship.

When Arbor Venues first became a part of the project, it was with the vision to brighten the space, refinish the floors, and restore the original chandeliers to their former golden glory. With the remodeling and redecorating, the space is now glowing with natural daylight that comes through the vast, almost floor to ceiling windows. As Grocki states, “It is a great venue for everything; it’s small enough that it can be very intimate and it is large enough that it can host 175 person wedding no problem.” The unique aspect to the space is the large stage that the new manager is determined to incorporate more into the space. The perfect place for an event’s DJ, band, a corporate presentation and so much more. Along with a stage and large ballroom opening, the space also can provide tables, chairs, and glassware for the bar as part of the rental package. To top it all off, the built-in, walnut bar and balcony make the space all the more appealing.

Working with some of the best in regards to catering has really set the new Historic German House apart. The event space has three preferred caterers they most often work with which are Avvino on Monroe Avenue, Partyman Catering from Avon NY, and Heartfelt Hospitality from the same owner of The Hideaway. Each outfit has excellent service and food and Grocki and his team work with them to ensure a certain level of control for the event. Outside caterers are allowed, but require an extra fee.

The question on many minds is will there be a restaurant attached downstairs? And as Grocki states, that is the plan and an investment. The current strategy is that another major renovation on the lower level will occur as soon as the event space is established and some of the revenue can be turned around and reinvested. The vision? “The downstairs will be a much more dialed in, evening lounge feel that will dovetail with the events program that will definitely be used as an extra bar for those events as well as a public lounge area with a wine and cocktail focus and a tapas style menu.” This renovation is a couple of years out, but if it looks anything like the main venue, it will certainly be worth the wait.

Chris Grocki has managed the space since April 2019 and has held the prior commitments with previously booked events through the transitional period. There are still dates available for 2019 and prime dates for 2020 are booking up, but please contact Historic German House if you are interested in reserving.

The newest reiteration of the Historic German House is on social media and you can follow all of their improvements by following their handle @ historicgermanhouse.