Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rheinland Haus **HALL OF FAME EATERY**

Late-'60's menu (note the minimum drinking age!)**

1978 menu

1978 photo showing the first liquor-by-the-drink served at the RH**

1988 photo of Jimmy and Steve Emmanuel behind the bar**

1988 photo showcasing the famous piano in the center of the room

1988 partial menu

Above three ads all from 1989

1989 staff photo

1990 ad

April 1992 article showcasing Steve's famous Easter generosity**

November 1994 staff photo**

RH matchbook (courtesy of Jeff McEwen)

The RH history from the front of a 1995 menu**

1995 menu showing the RH classics**

1999 ad

RH T-shirt (!) (courtesy of Poni Shannon & Heath Brown)

Charlie Emmanuel taking a break out front**

2005 Takeout Menu**

Logo from the 2005 menu**

Original German beer stein that hung above the bar**

Mid-2000's photo

Patrons waiting on the last day**

Charlie & Steve on the last day**

For almost forty years, The Rheinland Haus was a Charlotte institution made popular by its traditional German fare and German beers. 

The Rheinland Haus opened in April 1966 in the Park Square shopping center in Dilworth on Park Rd. Original owner Pete Collier opened the Rheinland Haus as more of a pub than restaurant. Even though the legal drinking age at the time was 18, he kept the age at 20 in order to keep out the Myers Park High School seniors (who were technically old enough to drink). He also owned the Alpine Chateau restaurant on Morehead St. Running both a restaurant and a tavern soon became overwhelming and Collier decided to concentrate his energies on the Alpine Chateau and sell the Rheinland Haus.

In 1972, Collier sold the restaurant to Steve Emmanuel and the transformation to a full-scale German restaurant began. The restaurant was successful not only due to its great food, but largely in-part due to the Emmanuel family (Steve's sons Charlie & Jimmy also helped run the restaurant) who were always gracious and inviting hosts. While there were other German restaurants in the area, the Rheinland Haus' authentic menu set them apart. The restaurant also had a dinner-time piano player that enhanced the experience. Steve was also famous for hosting an Easter event each year to help feed the elderly. The Rheinland Haus was the first restaurant in the area to go smoke-free in 2002 (at the time this was considered risky, but now many other Charlotte restaurants have followed suit). The Rheinland Haus continued its successful run until it closed in November 2005. The location currently houses an Italian eatery, but to its local patrons, it will always be remembered as the home of the Rheinland Haus.

Many thanks to Charlie Emmanuel for allowing the use of items from his personal family collection to be used for this post (as well as providing important background information). His contributions are noted above by a double asterisk (**) by each item/photo. The Rheinland Haus is one of my all time favorite Charlotte restaurants and his assistance is greatly appreciated!

REVISIONS-- 8-2-2008

October 1973 ad

1976 ad

2002 interior photos (all courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)

2004 Best of Charlotte table (courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)

Charlie helping at the "Soup on Sunday" hospice benefit (courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)

2002 reunion of all piano players who had played at the restaurant (courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)

Flyers from the annual Oktoberfest Festival (courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)

Table-top flyer (courtesy of Charlie Emmanuel)



  2. I live in Atlanta now, but Rheinland Haus in its prime is my favorite restaurant ever in Charlotte. I had so many experiences there with family and friends all accompanied by good food, good beer, and a wonderful staff.

  3. I first visited Rheinland Haus in 1978 when I was 14 years old and ate their often for years afterward. I miss the place, and truly I miss the old Dilworth. Things have changed so much since then.

  4. I do not remember the first time (likely in the 70s), nor how many times I had eaten at the Rhineland Haus, however it was consistently wonderful food, atmosphere and service. Only in D'Land have I had German fare of equal quality. It is sorely missed.

  5. I worked there in the late 1990's and some of my fondest memories happened while working at the Rheinland Haus! I remember the German band playing on the 1st Monday night of the month and throughout October, bringing in the crowds. The piano players on the weekends were always so entertaining. I always loved the cozy tables upstairs and the really cool silver plates food was served on. The back room was great for private parties, but no one wanted to sit back there if it was dead.
    Thank you so much for archiving so much of Charlotte's history before it is forgotten. You've done a great job!

  6. I still have my T-shirt. The Ducks Unlimited team used to meet there weekly. Sure do miss that place and the great people that ran it. What do you say Charlie? Can you do it again?

  7. I went there with my wife of thirty five years on our first date. I really enjoyed the Rhineland Haus along with the Open Kitchen, and HoToy Charlotte's statement for international cuisine.

  8. My wife and I went to the Rhineland Haus on our first date in 1975 and many times after. It was a cool place to take out of town friends. I wish it would reopen with the same warm and friendly atmosphere that said so much for Charlotte. There are other German themed restaurants now in Charlotte but they will never have what the Rhineland Haus had.