August L. Janssen, the future “Wirt” and proprietor of the Hofbräuhaus in New York City was born in Emden, Germany. At age 20 and after attending the University of Göttingen in the year of 1887, young Janssen, as so many other Germans at that time, took a ship to NY city in the hope to immigrate to America
After Janssen arrived in the US he went to work for Purcell and Co., a well known Caterer. He spent several years with the firm, learned English well, even the New York dialect and the customs of its inhabitants. August Janssen was one of the founders of the Rotary club and helped to organize the Broadway organization in New York.
He had saved enough money and opened the Hofbräuhaus in 1908 at the corner of Broadway and 30th St. in New York. It was his tradition to always sound the bell when a new Beer Keg was tapped, and as many of 30 were tapped at the time. Famous people like Enrico Caruso, Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft were his regular patrons.
He became famous with his slogan: “Janssen wants to see you” for his Hofbräuhaus
August Janssen bought 36 acres and built his large stucco home c.1913 by Joseph Schaeffler, 17+rooms with intricate woodwork, stained glass doors, and large marble fireplaces and an apartment over 3-car garage. See home here: August L. Janssen Residence (reference per Wikimapia)
Before WWll, three branches of Hofbräuhaus were opened, but had to be closed in 1938 because the anti-German sentiment of the War. The historic and first Hofbräuhaus was merged with new quarters in the Graybar building at Lexington Ave and 44th St.
Janssen died at the age of 72. New York Times Obituary of Nov. 17, 1939:
Thanks to Willi Dürrnagel of Würzburg for acquiring and and allowing me to post the Hofbräuhaus Menu of 1908: