Bellaire Broiler Burger was done in by a deal too good to pass up, but owner Jason Scheinthal promises the 65-year-old institution will make a comeback.
Over the weekend, the restaurant’s Instagram page announced it would be closing due to “circumstances beyond our control” on Sept. 5 or until the food runs out.
The announcement spelled an end to the restaurant that got its start in 1957 as Brittain’s Broiler Burger. According to Scheinthal, it had five locations before the owner closed four and sold the last to the Danneman family. It then became Pat & Mike’s Broiler Burger before it was finally renamed Bellaire Broiler Burger.
At the start of 2020, and the pandemic, Tom Danneman had sought to sell the business. Scheinthal and his dad saw an opportunity.
“Many people shopped this business, but very few were planning to reopen Broiler Burger,” he said. “It was my dad’s favorite restaurant, and it was one of my favorite restaurants growing up, so we were really excited to bring it back to the community.”
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Scheinthal was already the owner of another restaurant, Eighteen36 in Upper Kirby, when he purchased the burger restaurant. The hope was that he could keep both, but the pandemic proved to insurmountable and he closed Eighteen36 to focus on Broiler.
At the start, all the business was done out of the food truck as the original building needed some serious work.
“We set up tables outside. Probably about 45 to 50 percent of our business was dine-in with the rest carryout. One of the things that hurt us was summer — it was the hottest on record,” he said.
It would have cost half a million to restore the original building. Scheinthal and his staff had already spent $100,00 to $200,000 before the announcement they were closing.
The reason: The business had hit a crossroads of sorts, thanks to the recent market crashes and some of the family’s projects did not pan out. Scheinthal said his dad, as a favor, asked him to list the property at a super high price to see if there any buyers. If there wasn’t, they could continue to move forward.
It turns out there was a buyer who agreed to purchase the location above the asking price. For the family, it was an offer that was too good to pass up.
“Some people are going to say we sold out, but I believe in what we do. I believe in our brands, and I feel we accomplished our mission,” he said. “I would challenge anyone to not take the offer we got … and it’s got nothing to do with not loving Bellaire. It had everything to do with our family and the people I love.”
For now, Scheinthal and his staff are busy getting everything squared away before they have to turn in their keys on Friday. The new owner is believed to be an attorney who plans to use the old building as a law office.
And as far Bellaire Broiler Burger is concerned, Scheinthal says they are actively looking for new locations to open — or even a new place to park the food truck.