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Schroeder Hall now belongs to man who owns Bikinis eatery

By By BIANCA R. MONTES and JOHNATHAN SILVER - BMONTES@VICAD.COM AND JSILVER@VICAD.COM
June 18, 2014 at 1:18 a.m.

Kathryn Ormsby dances with Ashley Wood as they circle the dance floor at Schroeder Hall. In July 2010, the second-oldest dance hall in Texas was up for bid as the auctioneer took bids between dance tunes.

The man who trademarked the word "Breastaurant" and renamed a Texas town after his famed restaurant chain, Bikinis, announced the purchase of the second-oldest dance hall in the Lone Star State on Tuesday.

Some fans were excited about the news while others voiced concerns about the new owner.

Sharon Kleinecke, previous owner of Schroeder Hall in Goliad County, took to Facebook to defend the sale, stating, "I know some of you are happy and some of you not so happy upon hearing the news of the sale. ... But Jack and I are excited to have Doug as the new owner."

Doug Guller, Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill chain and ATX Brands owner, takes over as owner of the famed dance hall, which opened in 1890. A purchase price was not confirmed.

Schroeder Hall has hosted country music icon Willie Nelson and local favorites including Pat Green, Rhythm of the Road and The Scott Taylor Band.

"Schroeder Hall has been around for over 100 years, and I'm honored to be the owner of such a legendary dance hall in Texas," the Austinstatesman.com quotes Guller in a press release. "We're extremely excited about this space, and we can't wait to show Texas what we have in store for the property."

Stephen Dean, the new manger and booking agent for Schroeder Hall, said he plans to continue the quality entertainment tradition the hall has established over the decades, bringing in more acts that perform country, Texana, Americana and polka music.

"We are going to do a lot of the same stuff but more," he said.

Dean, who is affiliated with Texas Dance Hall Preservation Inc., said he has known Kleinecke, a board member of the organization, for years.

"We feel there is nothing more Texas than a dance hall," Dean said. "We want to make these dance halls thrive and bring back that culture."

Guller has a long list of Austin eateries and music-related venues under his ownership, such as Parish Underground, 508 Tequila Bar and Chicago House as well as Guller Hall near Fredericksburg.

Longtime Schroeder Hall fan Bobby Sparkman, 49, said he's spent the past 35 years listening to music and dancing at the hall and is excited about what's next.

"I think this is a win for both the previous owners, who were ready to retire but did not want the building to be lost for a developer looking for acreage but to someone who shared the love of the hall," the Schroeder resident said. "We have that in the new owner and manager."

In 2010, the previous owners tried to auction off the venue, saying they wanted to spend more time with family and see a new owner move the dance hall forward.

In a note on Facebook, Kleinecke said Guller is dedicated to preserving Texas dance halls and asked patrons to be patient through the transition.

"Don't rush to judge, and please support Schroeder Hall even more than before," she said, "Thank you all for keeping this old dance hall dancin', and we'll see you soon on the dance floor."

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