PEORIA, Ill. — “They say when you’re here, you feel like a friend. You feel like family,” said Andy Guzman, referring to his family’s restaurant, the Peoria Hofbrau.
It’s a quaint Bavarian Brau Haus-themed restaurant filled with family traditions and lots of German knick-knacks.
Guzman said, “People bring us things. We find things. They send us things. There’s just so many little things around it.”
Guzman’s father Arturo, who is a trained chef from Chile, opened the Peoria Hofbrau restaurant in 1984.
“He found this little old place and we kind of—it kind of came together over time,” Guzman said.
Arturo’s late wife Hedwig, who was from Germany, was the inspiration behind it all.
“She was the influence for the business and the atmosphere,” said Guzman. “My mother was a cook at home. Very good cook. I mean unbelievable as well. So we like to cook and we like to eat,” as he laughed.
Decades later, the business is still a family affair and one that the Guzmans enjoy.
“I have one sister involved. I have two brothers that have been involved, my father and multiple other family members have helped or along the way,” Guzman said.
One challenge the business has had to overcome is the difficulty of being such a small operation with such a specialty menu.
“So we have to reach far and wide sometimes for the products that we use because we like to keep our quality high,” said Guzman.
But he believes consistency is what sets the Peoria Hofbrau apart from other restaurants.
“People tell me that they go away—they move away for their jobs or their families and that sort of thing and they come back after 10, 15 years and they walk in the front door and they like to look around and say ‘Wow! Nothing’s changed,'” he said.