The long-awaited return of a local favorite restaurant has come. Wienerland, located directly across Fifth Street from the White Administration Building, will reopen its doors this May under new ownership.
Wienerland closed their doors to the public in August of 2016. The restaurant closed due to the passing of then owners, David and Mary Pessink. David passed away January 29, 2016, and his wife, Mary was laid to rest three days later. Both passed at the age of 61.
Two Tyler couples have become the new co-owners of Wienerland. Michael and Lindsey Harrison and John and Ashley Feldman were long-time customers who are eager to take over ownership.
“I thought maybe the family would take it over. I wasn’t quite sure, but we did a bunch of research when we found out it had closed and we realized it was open for lease,” said Mrs. Harrison.
After the research was complete, the new owners saw the need for the restaurant to reopen. They contacted a myriad of people, including food distributors for information before signing the lease.
“We think we have a chili recipe that is almost exact. We know that is a big question for a lot of people when a restaurant changes owners. We wanted to do this right and make people proud,” said Mrs. Harrison.
A big concern the new owners have seen and heard from fans of the iconic restaurant was the menu. Former customers have voiced their concern over possible menu changes.
“Again, this is an iconic place and yes, there are family favorites and we will be keeping some of those favorites. We truly feel we have the recipe, it is very, very close and I don’t think people will be disappointed at all,” said Mrs. Harrison. “We are going to modernize it a little bit and offer some hot dog choices that you can have. We are kind of bringing it all up to the 2000s.”
Gourmet hot dog choices will be the biggest additions Harrison added. Different types of meat will also be added to the new menu, as well as different types of bread. The original favorites will be returning like the chili dog and the plain dog.
“We will have chili cheese fries, Frito chili pies and nachos but different takes on all of that. It will be really cool and very exciting for students to be able to walk over and grab some food to go,” said Mrs. Harrison.
Wienerland is scheduled to open at the beginning of May, just in time for students to taste the new, modern take on a classic before finals and the end of the semester. For more updates, follow Wienerland on Facebook. There, they will announce a finalized date and will be offering discounts to TJC students.