Cowford Chophouse opens downtown, restaurant group bullish on undertaking

Cowford Chophouse opens downtown, restaurant group bullish on undertaking
Milan Malinovic, Design Cooperative principal, Aundra Wallace, Downtown Investment Authority CEO, Alexandria Klempf, Director of Development, Forking Amazing Restaurants, Tracy Klempf, and Jacques Klempf, co-owner and principal, Forking Amazing Restaurants

Once a building that was home to three banks (First National Bank, Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank, and Brotherhood State Bank), after the start of the Great Depression the Bostwick Building was converted to office space and from mid-1940s to 1960 the home of Henry J. Klutho’s architectural office. It then sat vacant for five decades, almost as long as it was previously occupied.

In 2014, Jacques Klempf bought the historic landmark at auction and began the painstaking process of returning the building to its former glory with new life as a 302-seat restaurant with rooftop dining. Plans were originally optimistic for a summer 2016 opening, however, a sinking foundation and rotting walls, likely due to water intrusion, required significant stabilization before restoration could begin.

During construction, crew found about 200 unopened lockboxes in two vaults that had been closed since 1926, said Klempf, who noted there were about 30 or 40 lockboxes that contained artifacts, all of which were donated to the Museum of Science and History.

Two and a half years, Klemp opened the Cowford Chophouse with interior finishes that complement the existing architecture.

“Come take a look at a historic building that was restored on the outside to the way it was rebuilt to 1902, then look at the modern finishes we put in,” said Klempf during a media tour Oct. 20. “It’s a great dining spot. I think the building will be here for a long, long time based on what we did to the building.”

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