The Dutchman’s Embarks on Two-Year RenovationTemporarily Closing After Labor Day
The 64-year-old face of The Dutchman’s and the restaurant’s interior will soon undergo a transformation, while retaining its German motif. The comprehensive upgrade is expected to take two years at the bayfront site on Cedar Bonnet Island by the Causeway Bridge.
“We will be going under a full renovation and hoping that we have completion within two years,” owner Rick Schmid told The SandPaper Aug. 26. “We will be back and be shiny and new, and it’s going to take us about two years.”
Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5, is the last day of a three-day renovation celebration weekend before the temporary closure.
The project designer and manager will be the noted Hal Banker of Glassboro, whose portfolio includes resort properties and casinos.
A rendering projecting the finished exterior shows a more contemporary-styled entrance and east-facing wall, melding into the bayfront dining area, whose look retains much of the iconic classic design.
Inside, the renovation will encompass all-new infrastructure.
“Our goal is to keep the Old World charm, with up-to-date amenities,” Schmid summarized.
“We do want to stay within the same motif, keep that same feel inside that people have been accustomed to,” Schmid said when the project was first announced last December. “We want to keep that traditional feeling that we’ve cultivated over the last 63 years, but with the new standards and ADA and fire codes and all the proper amenities that enhance restaurants today.”
If customers would like to keep abreast of the project as it unfolds, they can watch the Facebook page, which is listed as Otto Dutchman, or visit the website thedutchmans.com, Schmid said.
The Dutchman’s was started in 1952 by Otto and Thelka Schmid and has been owned and operated by the family ever since. Originally, the establishment was a small bar and dining room called Bayshore Bar and was located in what is now the customer parking lot. In 1958, son Robert and wife Joan became the owners of the site then named The Dutchman, notes a history on the website.
“The infamous storm of March 6 and 7, 1962 took its toll and the present building was built by Robert and Joan and opened in February 1963 as the Dutchman’s Brauhaus. Since then, several additions have been made. The front dining room was an open porch until 1969. The ‘Upstairs’ was also a porch, enclosed in 1976. An expansion to the back section of the kitchen in 1981 and to the upstairs in 1983 enabled us to do private parties, banquets, etc., for up to 125 people,” the history lists. “In 1994, an outside bar (The Quelle) was started and completed for the summer of 1995. The name means ‘a source.’”
The popular Quelle outdoor bar will remain a part of the new Dutchman’s design, Rick Schmid said.
A very important facet of the current family endeavors is The Maximilian Foundation, a nonprofit foundation started in memory of Maximilian Otto Schmid.
The organization’s mission is dedicated to supporting bona fide programs that work with children and adolescents’ insecurities through counseling, substance abuse awareness and education.
The restaurant’s Renovation Celebration Weekend, Sept. 2-5, features special events on Labor Day itself, including prizes and giveaways, a complimentary guest buffet at 10 p.m., and entertainment by Pat Karwan and Friends.
— Maria Scandale