Beaverton’s Bargarten and Gustav’s in Clackamas Will Close for Good This Summer

Two properties that began with the Der Rheinlander on Sandy remain in business.

Two more restaurants in a long-standing local German chain are shutting their doors, whittling away at the remaining living legacy of the beloved Der Rheinlander on Sandy.

On May 31, the operator of both Gustav’s Clackamas location and Bargarten in Beaverton quietly posted a goodbye letter on both businesses’ websites. Eater Portland first reported the news.

“With measured emotion, I share a tough decision that I have made due to recent health issues,” the note, signed by Suzeanne Briede, read. “As I continue to work through cancer recovery, I have concluded that it is time for me to take a different path in life, so after 34 years in the business, I will eventually be a guest rather than an operator!”

The last day for Bargarten at Cedar Hills Crossing will be June 26. You have a bit longer to lick your fondue bowl clean at Gustav’s: That site will shutter on July 11.

The Gustav’s brand actually began in Portland as the popular Der Rheinlander on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. Founded in 1963 by chef Horst Mager, who migrated from Wiesbaden, Germany, the restaurant became one of the city’s dining institutions famed as much for its hot cheese sauce and schnitzel as the singing waiters with accordions and cuckoo clocks on the walls. Rheinlander closed in 2017 after a developer purchased the property.

But the German cuisine lived on in dishes at Gustav’s, first established in 1992, and then Bargarten—a flashier version of Gustav’s, which typically has a take-your-grandma-to-birthday-lunch vibe.

Like essentially every other restaurant and bar during the past two years, the company struggled with pandemic restrictions. All of its dining rooms closed in December 2020, a decision that was announced on both its websites and social media platforms.

“Nearly 98% of our revenue comes from in-house dining,” the statement read. “With the governor’s recent extension of the indoor dining ban, it is not viable for us to continue to operate on takeout alone.”

Nearly 10 weeks later, Bargarten reopened its Beaverton patio and was well rewarded in the form of a $2,000 tip from the very first customer through the door. The amount stunned the entire staff.

“The gentleman was actually waiting at the door before noon, " Rene Briede, vice president of Bargarten’s parent company Güten Foods, told WW at the time. “He came in and sat on the patio, had lunch. When he left, the server came over and gathered us around, and she was trembling. She said, ‘Look at this.’ She was overjoyed and caught off guard.”

Bargarten later posted a photo of the receipt on its Facebook page as proof of the extraordinarily large gratuity—written as both a numeric and in words as if to avoid any confusion about the amount. The restaurant also wanted to express its appreciation.

“We wanted to publicly thank this Bargarten Fan for their generosity toward our staff who have struggled during this time of closure,” the post stated. “Your support and the support of our faithful customers means the world to us and we look forward to serving you all!”

At some point between 2021 and 2022, Gustav’s in Tigard folded without much publicity.

After the Clackamas restaurant and Beaverton Bargarten close, there are two remaining properties in the family: Gustav’s in Vancouver, Wash., and Keizer Station’s Bargarten, just north of Salem.

We’re just guessing but suspect it’s safe to say that the man who left the generous tip for the Beaverton staff will be willing to make the 40-mile drive south to keep Oktoberfest going as long as possible.

Related: At Bargarten, Oktoberfest Never Ends.