By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 25, 2018 at 9:02 AM

When restaurateurs Karl Ratzsch and Ella Helene Ratzsch moved their Herrmann's restaurant to 320 E. Mason St. in 1929, they changed the name to Old Heidelberg.

And they created what they called a "new-old restaurant ... with an authentic atmosphere of old time hospitality. Here guests will find the romance, the cheer, the charm of bygone days. And, above all, fine German cookery."

That was a recipe for success until 2017, when the latest operator, Thomas Hauck, closed it, seemingly (but hopefully not) for good.

Afterward, a bank auction cleared out many of the German and German-style objects that long decorated the place. But, thankfully, a lot remains, and the space is still evocative of of old Germany, and it would make a great setting for a beer hall (if you're looking to open such a place).

We went inside recently and thought you might like to see how it looks now...

Mama Ratzsch

One of the chandeliers and a bit of the wrap-around mural

Classic clock

Dining room with the tiny stage

The Fable Room still has its murals

One of the heinzelmaennchen

Stained glass


A musician upstairs

Vintage photographs

The wine cellar

A view under the Mason Street sidewalk

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.