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Brandt's Holds Out Hope to Stay Open

Owner George Grisco and daughter Georgina Konuk say they haven't lost faith there will be some way for the family restaurant of more than 65 years to remain in business.

With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, the owner of Brandt's-The Little Cafe, is thankful for the more than 65 years his family business, located at the corner of Northwest Highway and Quentin Road, has remained in Palatine.

Brandt's owner George Grisco, and his daughter Georgina Konuk also are holding out hope that something of a Christmas miracle might happen to keep the Palatine business staple, afloat.

"I still have people trying to help me, in the way of finding investors or an affordable loan, to keep our business alive," said Grisco. 

How the business got into trouble, as reported by Palatine Patch in mid-October, goes back to the late 1990's when property taxes on the two acres the restaurant is located on, began to whirl out of control.

"In the early 1990's, I was paying $12,000 a year in taxes, but in the late 1990's, they [taxes] rose to $50,000 a year, that's when things got hard," Grisco said. 

Georgina, who has worked at Brandt's since she was a teen, said she also retains hope for the business she grew up around. 

"I always hang on, when we had the fire, everything worked out, I have to believe that something good can happen and we won't lose what our family has built for now, three generations," said Konuk. 

Both George and Georgina pride themselves on the quality they have provided for customers since the businesses' early beginnings in 1947.

The current location at 807 N. Northwest Highway, opened in 1968, and was previously run by George's in-laws. He bought the business in 1986. 

"We've always used the freshest ingredients, and made sure quality was first and foremost," Grisco said.

And customers at the restaurant Sunday night, agreed.

"Brandt's is a mainstay in Palatine, my wife and I have been coming here for more than 20 years, the quality is always the best, dependable, consistent," said Jack Lee, Palatine resident.

"We just got back from Florida, and our first thought was, where do we go for a great meal?" said Claire Lee, Palatine resident. "The answer was simple, Brandt's."

Jack Lee said it would be a true loss for the village, to see Brandt's go. "I'd hate to see it, I do hope they can find some way."

Grisco said if something isn't able to happen with potential investors, or even an affordable loan to stay afloat, the business will likely close by late January.

"I haven't given up yet," Grisco said. 

Sandra Levin December 10, 2012 at 01:00 PM
It wasn't only Brandts, all the small businesses in Palatine and Cook County suffer under the burden of property taxes. The residential cap on Cook County properties is passed onto the businesses.
Bucephalus December 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM
That's not an answer to my question. 1: If it was just plain property taxes then what changed in the late 1990s? 2: If it was just plain property taxes then why is Brandt's the only one building up this level of debt? 3: If it was just plain property taxes then why weren't their taxes $50k a year before the late 1990s? 4: Why is Brandt's the only place in forcelosure with $700k of debt? Grammy D's and JJ Twig's are both small restaurants, but they aren't in foreclosure with $700k of unpaid bills. As far as I know both of them pay property taxes. So what's up with Brandt's? No, there's more to this story than "woe are the cook county taxes." Cook County's property taxes may be high but if it was that unbearable, if they had had a 416% (my first math was wrong, I based it off $55k per year, my apologies) based only on property tax increases, then EVERYBODY would be suffering like them. Not everybody is suffering like them.
Jay F. December 10, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I think anyone reading this article should read the article from October before forming a thought and commenting. Fact is, they borrowed money, never paid it back. If you did that against your home, you would lose your home. Don't let nostalgia cloud your mind, they didn't pay their loan. Personally, I am not crying for them at all, since moving to Palatine 5 years ago, I have eaten there a hand full of times and the food was good, not exceptional but the service was AWFUL and RUDE, each and every time. I have sent out of towners to arlington heights to get a burger based on these experiences... and I've not been back. Pay your bills, treat others like you'd be treated, you'd be good to go.
CartridgeWorld December 11, 2012 at 03:18 AM
That highlights why it's so Important to support locally owned small businesses. The fact is that locally owned businesses keep more $'s in the community which then has a positive impact on other businesses. I'm joining a a new organization called LocalBizFirst which puts more focus on locally owned small businesses.
unknownauthor December 14, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I agree 100% with Jay. They are rude. There is a saying that if you do a good job someone might tell someone about your good work. If you do a bad job, someone will tell everyone about your bad work. Buh-bye Brandt's!!

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