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A look back from Philip Braun’s Grove to the Genesee Park Restaurant

Buffalo has been home to a GREGORY of the village’s hospitality during grand reopening for his new brick
number of iconic German WITUL the 1950s. In 1959 Rimbeck sold restaurant, which in time would be
dining spots over the years. From his stake in the village and soon renamed the Deutsches Haus.
the Park Hof Restaurant and Carl Besides opening their Mike Blab was running the show.
Meyer’s Hof downtown to the East grounds to the German For the next quarter century the
Side’s Troidl's Tavern and the Ba- When Blab took over the park Haus would see club meetings,
varian Inn, finding a hearty meal community, the he was already familiar with the wedding showers, funeral break-
was always easy. But of all of Maennerchor hosted facilities from his days with the fasts, birthday parties and retire-
these well known locals, few are events from many of Maennerchor. By 1965 he had re- ment sendoffs. German music
more famous than 2090 Genesee Western New York’s vamped the menu to include sauer- would fill the air as local bands
St., home of Philip Braun’s Grove, other ethnic groups. braten, liver dumplings, red played the venue and happy pa-
the Bavarian Village, Deutsches cabbage, wiener schnitzel, potato trons drank at the U-shaped bar.
Haus, and the Genesee Park Res- nor of New Jersey and the Demo- salad, steaks, chops, chicken, sea
taurant. cratic nominee for president, food, sauerkraut and roast pork, The 1980s saw a number of
Woodrow Wilson. homemade liverwurst, and blood- ownership changes at the Haus but
When Philip Braun purchased wurst. the restaurant maintained standing
the property west of Floss on In torrential rain and in front of in the community. In 1985 it was
Genesee Street from the Broadway a crowd of thousands the future As a prominent member of ranked as Buffalo’s best beer bar
Brewing & Malting Co. at the end president gave his thoughts on Buffalo’s German-American com- with an amazing selection of
of 1910, the freshly minted entre- Roosevelt’s new Progressive Par- munity many organizations con- American and German brews. As
preneur was an old hat at running ty, the regulation of monopolies, tinued to call 2090 home, the German community along
an entertainment destination. and the minimum wage. After including the Federation of Ger- Genesee Street began to dwindle,
speaking for an hour Wilson shook man-American Societies who in- so too did the customers of the
Born Feb. 16, 1873 near Pfor- hands with over 3,000 laborers stalled Frank S. Marx the president Deutsches Haus.
zheim to hotelier Karl Braun, Phil- before being whisked away for an in the park’s hallowed halls.
ip arrived in Buffalo with his address in Kenmore. By 1996 the party was over
family at age 12. After his school- In 1966 Blab decided that the and the Haus was abandoned.
ing, Braun worked a few odd jobs Braun’s Park would continue building that had served the park While much of Genesee Street has
for a number of companies includ- to host the annual Labor Day pic- for over half a century was past its fallen to the reckoning ball, 2090
ing the New York Central. nic as well as outings for the Co- due date. He tore down the build- has survived and in 2017 was rede-
lumbia Turn Verein, Maennerchor ing, hired an architect and contrac- veloped into the New Hope Baptist
His first professional brush Bavaria, and the Buffalo German tor, and on June 18, 1967 held a Church.
with the recreation industry came Day celebrations of 1915, 1916,
in 1898 when he began managing and 1922. rections, the Young Republican
John Kohlhas’ pool room and Club of Erie County, the Schiller
bowling lanes at 1388 Broadway. Beyond the park, Braun was Park Citizens' Assn., and the Sixth
A stellar kegler, Phil would take active in the social and civic life of Assembly District Republican
over the location around 1901 and Buffalo’s German East Side. He Club during the 1930s and ‘40s.
use it to establish new teams, organized the Northeast Business
leagues, and tournaments. Braun Men's Assn., participated in the The male choir would own the
was a good enough bowler to play Teutonia Liederkranz and the Har- park until early 1953 when Alois
in the lanes of England and Ger- ugari Frohsinn while being an ac- Rimbeck took over the green
many while visiting Europe in the tive congregant of Jerusalem building and park at 2090. After
early 1900s. Evangelical Church, and in time running a Box Avenue grocery
served as president of the Federa- store, Rimbeck purchased Genesee
In March of 1907, Philip, his tion of German Societies. Park and transformed it into the
wife Catherine, and their children Bavarian Village Restaurant.
held a large party to bid farewell to On Nov. 18, 1922, Philip
Buffalo before they moved to Los Braun sold his four acre park to the Like his predecessors, Rim-
Angeles. Fourteen months later Bavarian Maennerchor for beck marketed the park to the Ger-
they had had enough of the West $50,000. For their new grove the man community and ended up
Coast and returned to the Queen 500 member strong choir wanted hosting the first German-Ameri-
City. to create an epicenter for Buffalo’s can Day since 1938 in August of
German community while main- 1954. The German-American
Back in Buffalo, Braun began taining its pastoral setting. Renam- A.C., Ladies' Section of the Male
managing Edward Seyller's Park at ing the plot the Genesee Park, the Choir Bavaria and Schwabben
East Delavan and the city line as- Bavarians had an early set back Verein would also take advantage
suming the venture two years later. when a fire destroyed some of
But after purchasing the property, their clubrooms, but they quickly
Phil realized that there was far rebounded holding dances and
more growth along Genesee than card parties in the building in less
East Delavan and in early 1911 than a year.
bought the lot that would become
2090 Genesee St. Besides opening their grounds
to the German community, the
With the property secured, Maennerchor hosted events from
Philip built a saloon, dance hall, many of Western New York’s oth-
pavilions, and playing fields in his er ethnic groups. In the summer of
new park and was soon holding 1935, 10,000 Poles took over the
events. In just over a year Braun’s park for their Polish Fete, while
Grove would host an historic occa- that September 2,500 Slavs cele-
sion. In 1912 United Trades and brated Ukrainian Day, and in 1939
Labor council held their Labor 2,000 Austrians celebrated their
Day picnic at Genesee and the key heritage on the grounds.
note speaker of the day was gover-
For Buffalo’s Teutons the park
played host to German Day and
the German-American Republican
Club as well as parties held by the
Department of Charities and Cor-
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