‘He loved this hall’ | Co-founder of Gruene Hall Pat Molak passed away at age of 76

Molak was the co-founder of the iconic Gruene Hall and owned several other restaurants, including two in San Antonio.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — The visionary owner and entrepreneur, Pat Molak died at the age of 76 Friday.

Molak was the co-founder of the iconic Gruene Hall and owned several other restaurants, including two in San Antonio.

In 1975, Molak walked into Gruene Hall for the first time. That same year, he purchased the property and turned it into the iconic venue it is today.

“He was working as a stockbroker and decided to lose the suit and come do his own thing,” CEO of Molak Corporation, Ryan Weinbrandt said.

With the help of co-founder, Mary Jane Nalley, the two restored the hall to its former glory.

“He loved the hall and loved live music and cold beer and that combination is what you see behind me today,” Weinbrandt said.

Weinbrandt who took over as CEO last year said Molak managed to transform an entire area into a thriving community.

“The number one attraction for the whole town of New Braunfels, right?” Weinbrandt said.

Bo Bobort is a local musician who said he has performed at Gruene Hall for 16 years.

“This little area means so much to so many,” Bobort said. “He built this for us.”

Bobort said he remembers Molak as being a friendly face and a hard worker who built a legacy.

“He’s helped so many musicians,” Bobort said. “Helped us feed our family and we appreciate that.”

Molak also left his mark on San Antonio. In 1979, he opened Josephine Street and most recently Down on Grayson, both in The Pearl area.

Down on Grayson was a collaboration between Molak and his two children.

“It’s contemporary American cuisine and it’s been an absolute hit,” Weinbrandt said.

Many people may wonder what is next for Gruene Hall. Weinbrandt said he had conversations with Molak about the future.

“We plan to honor him by not changing a thing,” Weinbrandt said.

In Lieu of flowers, the family is asking memorial contributions be made to the Texas Historical Commission.

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