Fritz & Franz Bierhaus’ Theory of the Case by Harald Neuweg

Introductions and Disclaimer:

In an effort to ensure balanced reporting, Gables Insider has chosen to impartially present every perspective on this issue, refraining from editorializing. However, a few items should be clarified: During the City Commission’s December 12, 2023 meeting, where the possibility of opening this city-owned property for new rental opportunities was discussed, only the Asset Manager’s viewpoint was heard. The City, while legally within its rights to not renew the current lease ending in May 2024, is actively choosing to potentially displace a long-standing tenant. This decision, whether a negotiation strategy or a genuine move to end the tenancy, should be clearly communicated. Residents have expressed concerns about losing a treasured 24-year-old local eatery, mindful of past direct financial costs to residents of the takeover of Burger Bobs and The Country Club and are wary of the implications of the City’s actions in this new negotiation.


Let me start by saying that being the as a tenant of a city is never easy.  You have to deal with everyone, including Mayors, Commissioners, City Managers, Asset Mangers, the Development Department, the Parking Department and Code Enforcement. Everyone is your landlord and no one is all at the same time.  I remember the time when even the City did not know who was in charge, or who should represent the “Landlord”.

And believe me, I have had my share of “Landlords” over the past 24 Years.

Now to reply to the City’s recent response:

Yes, we have had disputes with the City over the years. This is typical of all long-term landlord/tenant relationships.  However, everything has always been resolved and no money is owed to the City. The first dispute arose when the two High rises went up at the same time in front of Fritz & Franz Bierhaus. The street was closed off for extended periods of time and it was difficult for our customers to reach the restaurant.  We lost a lot of business, then changed business, and lost even more.  The City and I resolved our disputes at that time.  If things were as bad as the City made it seem in their response, they would have evicted me, and yet I am still here.  Many other businesses did not survive when the streetscape project was underway. Being choked off from access to your business is a difficult thing to manager, and yet we are still here!

In 2014 we received permission from the City Commission to host World Cup Watch Parties at the Plaza in front of the Bierhaus. The permission was from the beginning of the World Cup to the end, or about a month’s time. Despite being granted the permission, during the first week of the World Cup we received daily code violations alleging that we did not have permission, but of course we did.  Classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. Of course, we persevered.

After the World Cup Final, we received a fine of about $12,000.00 along with a bill from the parking Department for about $11,000 for the use of the Plaza.  We agreed to pay one of the two, and the City Manager and Parking Department Director decided to have us pay the higher fee.  At the same time, we presented a bill to the City Manager for the City’s unauthorized use of our dumpster over the course 15 years.  It was a third of the total amount we paid to Waste Management and not the $37,500 that the Asset Manager claims.

The City Manager and the Parking Department thereafter agreed to waive the citation fee for the World Cup and paid us approximately $3,782.65, which we did receive.  We also agreed to mention this in the future since the city did not look good using a tenant’s dumpster without permission!     

As per a mutual agreement with a long list of City Managers, i.e., Jack Eats, David Brown, Cathy Swanson and others before Peter Iglesias and the current Asset Manager Zeida Sardiñas, we had permission to store all our Event equipment in the Garage #6 ramp, for basically the last 20 Years! It definitely was not a safety hazard.  

Regarding the sale of Fritz & Franz Bierhaus, it is true that we had it on the market 2 years ago. So what? Everyone knows that we could not have sold the business and assigned the lease without the City’s consent.  If a suitable buyer presented itself, we would have gone to the City to seek an extension of the lease and consent to an assignment.  Of course, that never happened and we took the business off the market after my son expressed his interest in carrying the name and the business forward. We have not shown the Bierhaus to anyone in the last 1 ½ years.

Zeida Sardinas wrote: It is important to note that the city has been contacted by realtors within the last few weeks who have reported that Mr. Neuweg was still actively offering/showing prospective buyers the Satchmo’s/Fritz & Franz business as available for sale stating that he will provide an assumable lease. THAT IS NOT TRUE.  We have not shown this place to anyone, and we would love to know the names of these realtors.

Regarding the yearly sales at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus it needs to be understood that it includes all Food & Beverage Sales from outdoor events like Oktoberfest, Champions League Final, Euro, Copa America, and the World Cup (which happens only every 4 years).  Depriving us of our ability to host Oktoberfest by enforcing a ludicrous and arbitrary decibel limit of 72 decibels hurting our top and bottom lines significantly.

Regarding the “PROPOSAL”

We had until November 31st 2023 to provide the City with the proposal the Asset Manager requested. Nevertheless, the City served us with the Notice of Nonrenewal prior to the deadline.  The Notice of Nonrenewal was written on September 27th 2023 and delivered shortly thereafter.  Why did they do that?  Why not allow us the allotted time to provide a proposal?

Regarding Rent, I am happy to pay the same base rent as the new upcoming restaurant in the same building. I have no problem with that! Of course, since the City jumped the gun and has refused to negotiate with a Tenant that has been here over 20 years they are unaware of our willingness to pay market rates.

Harald Neuweg

Chef Owner, Fritz & Franz Bierhaus

President, Satchmo Blues Bar & Grill Inc.


22 thoughts on “Fritz & Franz Bierhaus’ Theory of the Case by Harald Neuweg

  1. Politicians doing the usual, profiting and not caring if they ruin the city and turn it into a McCity with no locally owned businesses. I bet another fat cat business guy offered them big money to take over the space that Fritz and Franz has to put in yet another fancy restaurant or another dump chain restaurant. This is the only German place we have here. It’s a community place. The City makes more than enough money, leave these people alone!

  2. Save Fritz and Franz! This is ludicrous. There is nowhere like it anywhere to be found in Miami-Dade, much less Coral Gables. The city needs to stop trying to cover up it’s mistake and just allow this long-time local restaurant to remain in the Gables! This is a beloved spot to many and is important from a cultural, as well as historical perspective here. Please reconsider this absolutely horrible decision!

  3. Alex Fernandez ……
    Fritz has been up for sale for over a year…………………………FRANZ has not!
    Fritz hasn’t done a thing to improve property in years…………FRANZ has!
    Fritz hasn’t changed menu in 20 years……………………………FRANZ has!

    Reality is the restaurant isn’t good and only
    attended by people one week every 4 year………….lol ..SO WE MAKE MONEY ONLY EVERY 4 YEARS!

  4. I occasionally eat at fritz with my family
    We enjoy the cold grapefruit beer and schnitzel
    I can do without the people smoking outside but the place is a local institution. With all the property tax revenue coming in in the last couple years I find it hard to believe the city can’t make a little consideration to keep this lease going. The last thing we need is another Starbucks or Chipotle around there


  5. FACTS:
    Fritz has been up for sale for over a year
    Fritz hasn’t done a thing to improve property in years
    Fritz hasn’t changed menu in 20 years
    Every landlord (even if it’s the city) has a right to put property up to get fair market value & best use
    Reality is the restaurant isn’t good and only attended by people one week every 4 years
    Grow up & stop trying to blame local government for everything just to make you feel better about yourself

  6. If what the City did to Le Parc Cafe is any indication, the days or Fritz and Franz are counted. The city violated their commitment and broke the trust with the excellent tenant that was there, asking for absurd out of market rent and commitment to impossible things. Any reasonable restaurant owner will never accept those conditions, so we lost a small business jewel. The place is now a shadow of what it was, offering expensive crappy food terrible and service. And with the City again operating the property and wasting OUR money on things they shouldn’t and losing valuable rent income. We are a city, not a restaurant

    This follows the same pattern. The city will force Fritz and Franz to close and on its place they will be nothing there for the foreseeable future. No small business will be able to afford the rent they are asking for. Count how many empty places are in Miracle Mile and all around downtown gables, while asking for much lower rents, and you can easily see the future. Once again the City will fail us. THIS IS NOT OK

  7. As a native of Miami it breaks my heart to see our city continue to be sold to the highest bidder. Elected officials continue to neglect the obvious demands of the voters in exchange for shady backdoor deals with developers.

    Mayor Lago, you are in a position where you can choose to listen to the residents of your city and do what you know is right – or you can go down as another gutless, greedy, and corrupt elected official.
    The choice is yours.

    Year after year the heritage of Miami gets stripped away. Our most cherished landmarks get replaced with overpriced, mediocre, cookie-cutter establishments and our shady politicians get richer and richer sucking the soul out of this city.

    We’ve already lost Scottie’s Landing, Tobacco Road

    Fritz and Franz truly captures the spirit of our city, and most residents would agree. Don’t let this landmark suffer the same fate as Scottie’s Landing and Tobacco Road.

  8. Mr. Santos with 6500 signatures and the growing number of comments from residents, I hardly think your statement “the majority of residents want the City to be in good financial health” can be taken as fact.
    Please submit proof the tenant “has not fulfilled his
    contractual obligations”. You apparently are not interested in the feelings of Gables residents who vote in elected officials. Nothing expressed here relates to your comment, “there are good places to eat for all price ranges in CG”.
    Are you not reading the comments and prevailing feelings expressed? Fritz and Franz, is a beloved institution and so are the Neuweg family. Harald Neuwegs last post states the facts. He is willing to pay the same rent as the new tenant in the building. Please do not hide behind false pretenses. Hosting live music, World Cup events and community and charitable events have garnered love and respect for this unique institution and family.

  9. In these challenging times, as Fritz and Franz’s doors might have to close, let’s acknowledge Harald Neuweg’s commitment to fostering community. Their restaurant wasn’t just a place; it was a haven where our community came together, reminding us of the strength found in unity.
    To ensure future celebrations in the spirit of soccer, music, and all events, let’s join hands to keep Fritz and Franz’s doors open. Your support can preserve this vibrant space for the community, creating lasting memories for years to come.”

  10. Fritz and Franz has always been our go to place to hold charitable fundraisers. Haiti earthquake relief, Medical Students in Action, Breast Cancer events, etc.. Women’s Cancer Events etc….The establishment never charged us to host our events. In fact, they gave discounts on food and drink to help the fundraising event be a success. Small businesses are the success of the Coral Gables community. Keep the Bier Haus alive and well for our future generation to enjoy.
    Steven Chavoustie MD

  11. As to people referencing nonpayment by tenant, Article XXIII(A) of the City’s Lease with Fritz and Franz allows the City to declare an Event of Default if tenant fails to pay rent per the Lease within 10 days following written notice from the City. No notice of default was ever provided by the City under the current Lease per Ms. Sardinas’ explanation provided on Christmas Eve. Further, Article XIX of the Lease prohibits an assignment of the Lease (or even a change in control or ownership of tenant) without the City’s prior written consent. Article VIII prohibits tenant from expanding and opening any other location within 3 miles of the current location. Article XIII addresses obligations of both tenant and City to maintain the premises.

    You can review the lease – it is attached to Item C-1 of the June 10, 2014, Coral Gables Commission Meeting (File # 14-3112).

    The City highlights About Coral Gables as “world-class dining” on the first page of its website. It does not provide anything about promoting small business, providing diversity of eating/drinking options or being resident friendly. We already have world-class dining – Michelle Bernstein’s new restaurant is adjacent to Fritz & Franz and Thomas Keller’s new restaurant is within a 5-minute walk. We do not need every restaurant in the City seeking a Michelin star. My request to the City is to please keep Fritz & Franz and be more transparent with residents.

  12. There may be “plenty of good places to eat for all types and for all price ranges, in Coral Gables” as you say, Alberto Santo, but many are not locally owned and can be found in other major cities, which creates a boring homogeneous dining scene.
    Fritz & Franz is one-of-a-kind, locally owned restaurant that also hosts events. This restaurant and venue brings people to together from all backgrounds and countries to cheer on sport teams, share food, drink and music. It’s not just a place to eat.

    I cannot think of any other German/Austrian style restaurant and venue that serves lunch, dinner and occasionally breakfast in the SW Miami Area of: Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Kendall, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Culter Bay, Homestead.

    Save this beloved local establishment and venue from the another corporate restaurant group take over.
    Say no to a homogeneous dining scene in Coral Gables.

  13. To Mr. Alberto Santos
    There has been no Rent disputed in the last 10 years, nor did we get subsidized by the city!
    in contrast to how many times we have packed the City owned parking Garage with our events and how much more extra money we have paid to the city for Plaza Fees and off duty police! Not to mention how many other restaurants and small businesses have benefitted during our outdoor events!
    No money is owed and we do not have any code or health violations. No reason has been given about the none renewal of the lease. And no one has told me how much I should pay if a new lease is being considered. I am surely willing to pay the same rate as the new tenant in the same building. And if you think a few residents, (6500 signatures don’t count), just think how many people vote!

  14. to those commenting that the city needs to be in “good financial health” – are we talking about the same city????? they need to fix this. That’s what they get paid to do. Come up with a comprehensible, realizable plan to maintain a happy community. WE HAVE MONEY, yes we might “make more money” momentarily by shutting down beloved and succesful businesses but ARE THEY GOING TO BUY LOYALTY FROM PATRONS? IS THAT FOR SALE? we’ve lost SO MANY local beloved spots already and for what??? can you tell me where the new OVERPRICED shops and restaurants will be in 20 years? NO, you CANT. You can’t buy that.

    Sticking to the red tape is just an excuse to not do their jobs.

  15. City of Coral Gables has a Coconut Grove mentality and will ruin our food/beverage area just like the Grove did theirs. Are we to continue to have an endless number of business and restaurants that open and close before we are even able to visit and get to know them? BIERHOUSE with all it’s shady dealings IS THE ONLY AFFORDABLE SPOT in Coral Gables!! NO DO WE NOT WANT A GENTRIFIED OVERLY EXPENSIVE FANCY SPOT that’s going to open and close in the bat of an eye!! we’re watching you CITY COMMISIONERS AND CITY OF CORAL GABLES! we put you there, we voted for you! LOOK OUT FOR US LOCALS! and if you take Bierhouse away from us, you better not mess around with The Bar!!!! oh and we’ll vote you out. FIX THIS!

  16. The City of Coral Gables should support the few “Mom and Pop” businesses that remain instead of encouraging large corporations and franchises to come in and take over. When you go into Fritz and Franz you know the owner and can talk to him. These types of relationships are few and far between in this day and age and should continue wherever possible.

    I hope an agreement can be reached so everyone can enjoy to enjoy this wonderful “hometown” restaurant, where you actually “know” the owner, for another 24 years!

  17. I have been going to Fritz and Franz for years to watch soccer matches with my friends. Its a great atmosphere! It would be a shame if they have to close because the City of Coral Gables refuses to renew their lease at the going rate.

  18. You would think that a city in Coral Gables would be more business friendly. Let free enterprise be free! Obviously Franz has a loyal customer base that continues to patronize the establishment otherwise they wouldn’t still be operating after 20 years! There are plenty of restaurants failing or already boarded up on Miracle Mile! Besides, who doesn’t love soccer!

  19. Once again Coral Gables is losing it’s soul. Every time we turn around another icon is threatened to be closed by the city. Please remember that many of us moved here for the atmosphere of not chain establishments but independent business owners who added to the fabric of our society. STOP telling those of us what the majority of us want. I have never been one to reply to these type of allegations, but enough is enough!! Fritz and Franz is an icon, and I beg the city to continue to work with them to resolve whatever disputes remain.

  20. Shame on the City!
    Let Fritz and Franz continue!
    This is one of the few places left that provides a wonderful, warm atmosphere for community gatherings, beer & schnitzel .
    It’s irreplaceable.
    The people have spoken. Can the City here us?!!!

  21. The City has full right to get paid rent on time and consistently. All disputes arouse from the tenant not fulfilling its contractual obligations. I am sure that a few “Residents have expressed concerns about losing a treasured 24-year-old local eatery”, but the majority of residents want to City to be in good financial health. There are plenty of good places to eat for all types and for all price ranges, in Coral Gables. We, the citizens, do not need to subsidize a tenant with a history of creating disputes, and even worse making us believe that “is typical of all long-term landlord/tenant relationships.” This means MORE disputes with tenant in the future. Time to vacate the property !!

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