New owners hope to bring life back into Kingston House

RICH Murray and Nicole Casey stand in front of The Kingston House. They bought the Kingston restaurant in 2016 and hope to return it to its glory. Reagan Zimmerman photo

by Reagan Zimmerman

Going out for a bite to eat and can’t make it home?

You once could just stay the night in the old Stagecoach stop, now known as the Kingston House.

While you were at it, you could host a dance in the third-floor dance hall.

Unfortunately, none of that is possible anymore, but it was way back when.

“It was built in 1846, two years before Wisconsin became a state,” said Rich Murray, who co-owns the Kingston House with Nicole Casey. “It was a stagecoach stop to begin with — renting out rooms. They were still renting out rooms when I was a kid.”

Casey and Murray found common ground at the local American Legion Post through their service.

Both have served multiple years in the military and have become members of the post.

The idea of reopening the restaurant stemmed from a conversation they had at a Legion meeting.

“We sat one night after a meeting and started talking about how we both would like to see it open,” Casey said.

Murray had money set away in a bank and was looking for a place to invest in.

“She approached me. I think she knew that I had money invested and I was looking for a place to invest at the time,” Murray said.

Murray was concerned for the city and area, because of the lack of options available.

“With this being closed, at the time, there was nothing here in town,” he said. “There was just the tavern, library, bank and garage.”

Murray decided that investing was the right thing because it was going to be good for the village and good for the area.

“I went and took the big leap,” Murray said.

The Kingston House closed September 2015 and remained that way until the pair bought it in January 2016.

The business had been tossed from owner to owner in the years before they bought it from Jeremy Endres and Brian Cantwell.

Before Endres and Cantwell, there were two other owners who were unsuccessful.

The new owners noted it was hard to start the business back up once James and Lenita Hein sold it. The Heins were the owners of the Kingston House for 25 years before selling it about five years ago.

According to Casey, who worked for them during their ownership, they were amazing owners.

“It was a fun place to work. Everyone would sit down at the end of their shift and eat dinner as a family,” she said. “Once everyone was done, we all got up and worked together to close everything. It was just like a family.”

Casey is trying to bring the family aspects into their new business, but they are still starting out so it is difficult.

Since they are in the early stages, changes are being made.

The previous owners had buffets everyday. Casey and Murray are now changing the buffets to only Saturday. On Friday, instead of having a fish buffet, they now will be serving plate style.

They also serve burgers, broasted chicken, shrimp, prime sirloin and much more.

Everything else is the same, including the Friday noon hour grill menu.

Besides its food, Casey says that the restaurant’s signature is its customers.

“They just bring life into the place; they come in and they are happy to see it open,” Casey said.

Casey and Murray are excited for it to be open as well, because it houses so many memories for them and they have put in countless hours of work to make it successful.

The duo hope to be the owners for a long time.

The Kingston House is open Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.