Cafe donates proceeds to help struggling Schnitzel Haus

October 2, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Cafe donates proceeds to help struggling Schnitzel Haus
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One local business is trying to help another through hard times.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schnitzel Haus, the German restaurant at 7319 Fifth Ave., has struggled to stay open. Owner Alfred Urban put up a GoFundMe page to help save the 13-year-old establishment. So far, the community has stepped up in a major way, donating just over $22,000 of the $30,000 goal.

Now, owners of the relatively new Brooklyn Brew Cafe, 310 79th St., are stepping up as well. The café will donate all of its proceeds from this weekend, Oct. 2-3, to help Schnitzel Haus.

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Brian Madden and his wife Marina, the owners of the café, are loyal Schnitzel Haus patrons and have friends who work there.

Brooklyn Brew Cafe Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brew Cafe

“Fred had a loss in his family,” Brian said. “His son passed away and his family have been going through tough times. We were trying to help them during the pandemic and it just came up in conversation. I thought maybe this would help break a bad streak of negativity that’s been going on and try to turn the tides a little.”

In September, Urban announced on Facebook that the establishment had lost its second floor.

“If we can come up with the balance of the rent, [the landlord] will allow us to stay and continue our lease,” Urban wrote on GoFundMe.

After the Maddens had drinks with Urban, they came up with the idea of giving a weekend of their proceeds to the GoFundMe page.

“Originally, we were just going to give them whatever we made for the weekend,” said Marina,
“but then I thought, ‘Why don’t we tell the neighborhood about it and hopefully they help out and we can raise more money that way rather than doing it during a regular weekend?’”

Marina said Urban was grateful for their offer.

Brooklyn Brew Cafe Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brew Cafe

“He stepped in the coffee shop today and was in tears,” she said. “He said he can’t believe we are doing this for them. We love them and want them to survive. They’ve been a neighborhood staple for many years. It’s a family-owned business and we just don’t want to see another loss after the biggest loss of his life that they had earlier this year.”

The community has also responded. The fundraiser was posted on Councilmember Justin Brannan’s Facebook page and on the popular South Brooklyn Food and Drink page, run by Bianca Sunshine.

“I’m really taken aback by the reaction,” said Marina. “It spread so quickly. We are all trying to get as many people as possible to come and support them.”

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