Rheinblick’s Next Generation Takes the Lead in Grand Reopening
CANANDAIGUA – After news of its closure broke earlier this month, Canandaigua’s Rheinblick German Restaurant is pleased to announce a relaunch on Sept. 10, with the next generation of owners taking the lead. Markus Hardt and Mike Klemens, sons of previous owners Gary and Gudrun Klemens, are continuing the legacy of their family’s business.
After 13 years of operating Rheinblick German Restaurant on Main Street in Canandaigua, Gary and Gudrun Klemens had decided to close their business in mid-August. The decision may have seemed abrupt but was a long time in the making. The difficulties of COVID-19-related restrictions and business drop offs, along with their move to Florida, made the last 18 months a challenging time for running the Canandaigua business. Gary and Gudrun are very thankful for the thousands of customers that walked through the doors in the past decade, and loved the opportunity to be a part of the Canandaigua community. They are joined in Florida by daughter Melissa O’Bryan (Née Klemens), who is the only family member involved in all aspects of Rheinblick continuously since day one. Together with Tony Bellis (accomplished Rheinblick Chef transplanted to Port Orange), Melissa continues to serve guests in Port Orange, Florida, at Rheinblick’s sister location “Rhein-Stube” where she continually innovates new recipe ideas.
While there had always been an interest in entering full time into the restaurant industry, neither Michael nor Markus had anticipated doing so this soon. Both have worked in and assisted with Rheinblick, but recently had been focused on raising young families and investing in their own careers. After announcing the closure online, the Rheinblick family received many dozens of messages of love and support, as well as disappointment in the closure and loss of an area steadfast. Markus and Michael, along with their families, prayerfully considered the timing of these events, as well as the community response, before deciding they are not ready to let Rheinblick close.
“We’re very excited to refresh the restaurant, while sticking to what we know works well - great Old World German recipes paired with both local and German beer and wine,” said Mike Klemens about their desire to take the restaurant forward into the next generation.
With that decision made, the brothers got to work implementing their plan to bring back the community favorite Rheinblick, while also incorporating some of their own ideas. Working to assemble a team that brings back guest favorites, as well as some new faces, they are now pleased to announce the date of the Grand Re-Opening of Rheinblick German Restaurant.
"Please join us on September 10th as we relaunch Western N.Y.’s favorite German Restaurant!" says Markus. "Come ready to enjoy German and local Finger Lakes beers and wines while eating authentic German fare! Don’t forget to end your evening with a homemade German dessert."
Markus Hardt is the oldest son/stepson of Gudrun and Gary. Markus was born in Germany in 1982 and lived there until 1994, coming to Canandaigua in 6th grade. Markus travels to Germany often, having made the transatlantic crossing nearly 100 times! He has many family members still living in Germany and considers himself German at heart (even though he is now an American citizen). Markus currently works as a Lieutenant for the Fishers Fire District in Victor. Being a firefighter, he works a rotating shift schedule which will allow him the time needed to take a lead role in managing Rheinblick’s day-to-day operations. Markus is married to Stormy, and the couple met while working at Rheinblick together twelve years ago. Please ask them about how they met when you see them (hint: it involved unintentional fire and hair). Stormy and Markus have three sons, aged 8, 6 and 3. Stormy stays busy homeschooling the boys and being involved in various community and church groups. Stormy was a shining star employee at Rheinblick for many years, being both an outstanding server, and a knowledgeable cook (something that benefits Markus and the boys to this day). Her close ties to the family and business will allow her to easily step into the restaurant wherever help is needed. When asked about some of their future plans, Markus said with a smile, “Without giving too much away now, I can say we all miss the old Rheinblick Oktoberfests dearly.”
Michael Klemens was born in Germany in 1988, moving to Canandaigua with the family in 1994. Michael retains close ties to Germany and enjoys taking his family to Europe on a regular basis. Michael is married to Christina and they are raising 2 boys, aged 4 and 2. Christina worked at Rheinblick as a server and master baker, having learned the restaurant’s recipes from Gudrun (wait until you taste the homemade German desserts!). As a CPA with degrees in Accounting and experience in audit and tax, Michael is currently a Sourcing and Procurement Director at Equitable, a large retirement and insurance provider. For years Michael served in numerous roles at Rheinblick, serving tables, hosting, and working in the kitchen. Before helping his parents launch the family business, Mike cut his teeth working at his aunt and uncle’s German restaurant in Connecticut in 2007. His knowledge of the restaurant and strong financial acumen set him up well to take the lead in managing the business and financial side of Rheinblick. Mike and Christina are heavily involved in their church community, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
While Gary and Gudrun Klemens are now enjoying the slower life of Florida, (where they still look forward to continuing to serve guests in their Port Orange location) the Hardt and Klemens families look forward to many exciting years of new and old guests at Rheinblick in Canandaigua.