Police still following leads in weekend tavern stabbing

Sunday, December 30, 2007
Jason Grojean, co-owner of Schindler's Tavern, is not accustomed to the violence that occurred at his New Hamburg bar last weekend when a fight broke out and a patron was stabbed outside.
AARON EISENHAUER
aeisenhauer@semissourian.com

NEW HAMBURG, Mo. -- After attending Mass at St. Lawrence Church, some people walk half a block to Schindler's Tavern, which is like a second home to many in town.

The townspeople and their children have been coming to Schindler's since the restaurant-bar was established in 1934. Many, like co-owner Jason Grojean, grew up coming to Schindler's with their father as a boy. Parents who might be late picking up their children from school tell them to wait safely at Schindler's.

Schindler's hosts the annual Kow Pasture Klassic, a benefit golf tournament played out back with tennis balls. It's known as the home of the baloney burger, a delicacy that draws curious diners from miles around. It's a place where the working man's beer, Stag, is king and Goldie, the owners' golden Labrador, is queen, where Angie the bartender is friendly because she is.

Schindler's is not known for the kind of violence that occurred outside the tavern last weekend.

A 19-year-old man was stabbed once outside the bar after several people started shoving and swinging at each other inside the tavern at closing time last Sunday morning. His identity has not been released. Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said the stab wound has affected the victim's ability to use his leg.

Investigators Friday were following a number of leads in trying to identify who did the stabbing.

Walter thinks the good name of Schindler's may be a problem for the quiet hometown tavern. "You get people coming in from other areas," he said.

The stabbing victim is from the New Hamburg area, but the bar also had attracted patrons from Perryville and Ste. Genevieve that night, Walter said. "Some of the problems come with people from out of town. They found them a new night spot."

Jason and Jenny Grojean have owned Schindler's for the past six years. Verbal arguments and shoving matches erupt occasionally, he said, but patrons don't pull weapons. They play euchre, a card game popular among early German-American settlers, they play Texas Hold 'Em and they play darts.

The crowd does change at night, and on weekends a sound system brings in younger patrons, Grojean said.

A year ago the owners instituted a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. Anyone put out of the bar stays out regardless of whose fault it was.

A patron who didn't want to give his name said the holidays bring people to the tavern who aren't regulars. "It's pretty much still the same, but different strangers come in," he said. "Not that anybody isn't welcome here."

He has felt welcome at Schindler's since he began coming in 1964.

Grojean said the regular staff were at Christmas parties and a new person was watching the door the night of the stabbing. "Saturday nights we card everybody who comes through the door," Grojean said.

He said the stabbing victim had a false ID. "This is very disturbing to me," Grojean said. "It made me realize I need to step up security."

The regulars at Schindler's talked a lot about the fight last week. They usually handle these kinds of things themselves without anyone getting hurt. "They feel like this is their own bar," Grojean said.

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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