The reopening of Hank Dietle’s Tavern has been slowed due to financial concerns, as funding and volunteer support have dried up over the past few months.
The bar at 11010 Rockville Pike has slowly been restored since a Feb. 14 fire, including a new porch going up in August, but construction has largely been halted. Owner Tony Huniak had hoped to reopen a few months after the fire, but it is now unclear when—or if— Dietle’s will be back.
Kiti Gartner, who managed music events at Dietle’s and is helping with the reconstruction said it would probably take around $10,000 to $15,000 just to finish the exterior construction.
“There’s just no money left,” Gartner said. “I know people want to see us open, but very few people have showed up to help.”
Fox 5 reported on Friday that volunteers have been working to rebuild the property, but Gartner said more money and volunteers are needed to complete the job.
“There is no money for material, not even paint, and very few volunteers,” Gartner said. “It will just take a good deal of time.”
A day after the fire on Feb. 15, Gartner started a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised $18,985 of its goal of $30,000 through 317 donations in the past nine months. Gartner said the primary purpose of the fundraiser was to support people who worked at the tavern, and about half of the donations have gone to pay staff, according to her most recent update on the GoFundMe page.
Gartner said a little carpentry is being done now, but that’s about it. A banner draped across the front of Dietle’s urges Rockville Pike drivers to “Save Hank Dietle’s Tavern.”
“It’s not going to happen by magic,” Gartner said.
Dietle’s holds the first post-prohibition beer and wine license the county issued, No. 001. The building was constructed in 1916 and originally served as a general store until becoming a tavern in the 1940s, according to the Hank Dietle’s website.
Huniak was not available to comment.