FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Fond du Lac’s Schreiner’s Restaurant to permanently close its doors

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – Another area restaurant has announced it will permanently close its doors.

For over 80 years, Schreiner’s Restaurant has served as a Fond du Lac landmark, serving more than 500,000 guests a year since 1938. The restaurant focused on scratch-prepared food and bakery.

According to a Wednesday Facebook post, Paul Cunningham, who began his Schreiner’s career in 1969 as a 15-year-old busboy, and his wife Joan are owners of this historic restaurant. The Cunningham’s were assisted in management by their daughter and son-in-law Marcia and Nathan Haupt. These four members of management have collectively worked for over 100 years at Schreiner’s.

“It has been my incredible honor to be a part of Schreiner’s Restaurant for most of my life, from busboy to baker/cook to owner. My time with original owners Bernie and Maureen Schreiner was invaluable and a true joy. Ultimately the formula for success for the Schreiners’ was simple: serve great food at a fair price and treat customers and employees as family” says Paul Cunningham, president of Schreiner’s.

The Cunningham and Haupt families say they are sincerely and deeply grateful for the staff they have had at Schreiner’s. Twenty-four Schreiner’s crew members have been employed at the restaurant for more than 20 years, including five who have worked there for more than 40 years.

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“Our families’ decision to not re-open Schreiner’s Restaurant was not one that we made easily; unfortunately, it was unavoidable and our only real option given the economics associated with the current pandemic crisis. The friendships and connections that we have been so blessed to have made over the years with our amazing staff and guests will never be forgotten” says Nathan Haupt, general manager of Schreiner’s.

When Destination Lake Winnebago Region, the areas visitor’s bureau, did its original branding research a decade ago, it immediately became clear that the iconic restaurant was one of — if not THE— most well-known attributes of Fond du Lac. “What an awesome and welcoming beacon it has been for this community for generations and generations!” says Craig Molitor, president of Destination Lake Winnebago Region.

“Schreiner’s offering of old-world friendliness and celebration of comfort food with traditional family recipes, combined with the recent addition of Bernie’s Pub made it a destination restaurant any community would love to have. The food, the friends, and the iconic business will be missed” Molitor went on to say.

The Cunningham and Haupt families stated in near unison that “the pleasure was all ours to work with and serve such dedicated and wonderful folks!”

Many local businesses were also negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

After more than 30 years, Titletown Fitness announced it would shut down permanently in early July. Owners tell WFRV Local 5 says they lost about 40 percent of their members after being closed for about two months.

In late June, Green Bay’s Black and Tan Grille announced it would temporarily close its dining services, effective immediately, through at least August.

On May 27, it was announced that Fond du Lac’s Schreiner’s Restaurant would close permanently after over 80 years in business due to financial challenges created by COVID-19.

On the cusp of Memorial Day weekend, The Cannery in Green Bay announced it would close its door permanently due to challenges imposed by the virus.

Coronavirus has been the last straw for many Northeast Wisconsin businesses – Foremost Farms USA announced it will close its Chilton cheese plant facility in July after the market change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early May, Harbor House announced Neenah’s JumpStart Auto Repair, which used the proceeds from customers’ auto service to fund auto repairs for domestic abuse survivors, would not reopen, saying the decision comes after the financial strain caused by a shift in business due to the pandemic followed the discovery that property had been stolen from JumpStart’s garage.

In the same time frame, Harmony Pizza of Appleton announced it would be closing its doors after nearly three years in business, citing pressures to achieve a strong service to the community and the coronavirus.

Manitowoc’s Holy Family College announced it would cease operations by the end of August. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries says the decision was made due to increased operating costs, unstable enrollment, and the impact of the coronavirus.

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