Storz to open restaurant at former Rick's Cafe Boatyard on Omaha riverfront

New signage at the former Rick's Cafe Boatyard on the Omaha riverfront.

Reporter Juan Perez Jr. will tweet from the 11:30 a.m. announcement

It's back.

Storz — the historic Omaha brewery — will revive its brand and transform the former Rick's Cafe Boatyard into the Storz Trophy Room Grill & Brewery.

The restaurant will open Nov. 15, its operators announced Thursday. Yves Menard, owner of the Charlie's on the Lake restaurant, will operate the new restaurant.

The Storz Brewing Co. plans to jump into the nation's craft brewing movement, which is seeing more growth in the Omaha area, by joining with a Nebraska brewer to make Storz brand beers.

The beer will be available statewide through an agreement with five Anheuser Busch distributors, organizers said.

Storz plans to introduce lager, wheat, pale ale and amber ale products in a few weeks, producing 160,000 cases in its first year of operation.

The restaurant is expected to jump-start new efforts to bring life to Omaha's riverfront.

The 19,000-square-foot bar and restaurant will be renovated, a plan that includes a Storz memorabilia museum.

Brewery history will be an important facet of the new operation, its operators said. Storz was brewed in Omaha for nearly 100 years before the north downtown plant closed in 1972, six years after the Storz family sold the business.

Rick's closed in January and its operator defaulted on his 30-year lease agreement with the city last spring. Rick Albrecht owned the restaurant business. The city owns the property, which was valued by Douglas County last year at $1.68 million.

Storz representatives said the company would assume the lease for the vacant restaurant at 345 Riverfront Drive.

The company's management team includes John Markel, great-grandson of Storz founder Gottlieb Storz, and his cousin, Tom Markel.

“Nebraska, we're back,” Tom Markel said in a statement.

“This is a great day for the Storz brand and Nebraska. John and I have been discussing the importance of family and community. It means unity to us. This project has all the elements of unity, which supports our mission statement — to glorify God through fellowship, sportsmanship and stewardship.”

“The family's decision to bring this Omaha brand back to the tap is an exciting addition to our riverfront and will certainly bring back memories for many generations of Omahans,” Mayor Jean Stothert said in a prepared statement.

Storz products will launch Aug. 18 at the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Polish Festival.

Other events to feature Storz products this month include the Great Nebraska Beer Fest in Papillion, the Cox Classic in Omaha and the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Neb.

CORRECTION: John Markel is the great-grandson of Gottlieb Storz, founder of Storz, the historic Omaha brewery. An earlier version of this story misidentified the family relationship.

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