UPDATE: Rockford's Oldest Restaurant Gets New Menu

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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford's oldest restaurant will have some new twists to target a new crowd after the 2016 ball drops.

Der Rathskeller on North Main and Auburn is adding more healthy options such as low carb meals, veggie brats, and turkey brats.

According to the new owner, Mike Dupre, the existing menu will stay pretty much the same as it has since the 1930s.

Dupre says Der Rathskeller is a Rockford tradition he wants everyone to enjoy.

Dupre says, "I'm looking for those folks that maybe are healthy conciense on what they eat so I would like the give them an opportunity to try a meal here at Der Rathskeller without having to worry about calories or fat content."

Dupre says the West Rockford staple will also start offering lunch specials three days a week beginning in January.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After being on the market for a few months one of the staples of the Forest City has found an owner.

Der Rathskeller is staying in the family. It will be handed down to owner Betty Giesen's son, Mike. The German inspired restaurant on North Main and Auburn is one of Rockford’s oldest, dating back to the early 1930's; however the Giesen's say they've had it for the last four decades.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It made it through the great depression, weathered world wars and withstood roundabouts. Der Rathskeller has grown with Rockford every step of the way and now it's on the market.

"If it doesn't sell then I am going to hang on but hopefully it does because it's time for me to retire," Der Rathskeller owner, Betty Giesen said.

From the gnomes, to the darkness of a basement dinner to the more modern beer garden and classic German eats, Giesen says she'll miss this place.

“The customers. Just interacting with them because I love people,” Giesen said.

Giesen bought Der Rathskeller from Fred Goetz 40 years ago when it was only a basement. The North Main and Auburn eatery has been a classic for generations.

“This and Olympic are West side staples,” Ron Turninger, who has been coming to Der Rathskeller for more than 35 years, said.

Giesen says the memories are everywhere.

"I had a fire in 2000 and it was my son’s wedding day,” Giesen said. “I ran downstairs, under the yellow tape and got the original skillet that we still use today."

Customers say that kind of tradition is what keeps them coming back.

"Please don't change a thing," Turninger said.

Giesen says her first suitor comes calling on Monday but it's all about tradition at the place. She and her customers that were there tonight say they want someone who has the same passion and energy for the restaurant as she does. She does not want to sell it to someone who has plans to turn it into something entirely different.

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