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The Kitchen Table: Bowls, buns and good times

The new restaurant in Suamico’s Vickery Village aims for a mid-September opening

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August 23, 2023

SUAMICO – Familiar with the Vickery Village area in Suamico, Lauren McGowan and Tricia Murphy – the mother-daughter duo behind the soon-to-be-open The Kitchen Table restaurant – said they saw a need for a casual lunch/dinner establishment.

“What I love about Vickery Village is that it offers fine dining with Chives right there and Spork for breakfast and lunch, but there isn’t that kind of spot in between,” Murphy said.

Murphy said she doesn’t see The Kitchen Table being in competition with Chives or Spork… “it’s a different food.”

“I feel like we are offering something missing in that area,” she said. “So, we feel like it’s a great fit. We’ve had nothing but support from the other local restaurants in the area.”

A family affair
Spending much of their lives in Wisconsin – minus a short stent in California – Murphy and McGowan said the Badger State is home for them.

“We actually moved back because my sister and her husband live here in Green Bay, and I wanted our kids to grow up together,” she said.

The duo are also no strangers to Suamico’s Vickery Village.

The Kitchen Table is a joint effort of mother-daughter duo – Tricia Murphy, left, and Lauren McGowan. Submitted Photo

Murphy and her husband and McGowan and her husband together with three other couples – one being Murphy’s sister and brother-in-law – are part owners of Station One Brewing Company – which is housed in the village’s former fire station No. 1.

“Station One only serves a few appetizers,” Murphy said. “So, at one point, someone approached us and said, ‘Would you be interested in starting a restaurant as a supplement for the station?’”

With it being a long-time dream of Murphy and McGowan’s to open their own restaurant and having a more hands-off role in the brewery, McGowan said it didn’t take long for them to say yes.

And before they knew it, The Kitchen Table idea was born.

Murphy said her family opening a restaurant doesn’t come as a surprise for those who know them because the women in her family have long loved to cook.

“We come from a long line of family that likes to cook – and that goes way back,” she said. “Any gathering we have, we bring all our favorite dishes and we share recipes – especially the girls in our family. We have a close family and cooking is just a part of our DNA. So, opening up a restaurant felt natural to us.”

McGowan – who currently lives in Milwaukee – said for her, opening the restaurant gives her a purpose behind being a stay-at-home mom.

“I have three young kids, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to be home with them and also work,” she said.

That journey led to her and Murphy opening an event planning business – The Gathering Type – last fall.

“The opportunity for the restaurant came up a few months into that, and it felt natural,” she said. “We will still have our event company, and we’ll continue to do that, and it felt like it merged well.”

The inspiration behind the restaurant’s name – The Kitchen Table (1733 Riverside Drive) – McGowan said, also has a family connotation behind it.

The Kitchen Table is currently being remodeled from a former yoga studio into a restaurant. Submitted Photo

“We want to create dishes that make you feel like you’re home standing in our kitchen or sitting at our kitchen table,” she said.

“We want it to be a relaxed casual dining experience for the community,” she said. “I’m excited to have a space that’s ours and welcome anybody and everybody to come and eat with us.”

Bowls and buns
McGowan said The Kitchen Table’s menu will be focused on two things – bowls and buns.

“There will be a variety of different bowls – for example, we’ll have a curry bowl and a pizza bowl,” she said. “Then our buns are all chicken thigh sandwiches with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. We’ll also offer a couple of dessert options as well – which we’re still working on figuring out right now. We have a couple different ideas, we can’t land on one yet.”

Murphy said the menu won’t be huge.

“Similarly to someone’s house, you don’t eat the same thing all the time,” she said. “So, we’ll have some standard bowls and buns and then we’ll offer a special for a week or two and then we’ll change it up and do another one. We’ll have three of each – three bowls and three buns – all the time and then offer a special one of each.”

McGowan said The Kitchen Table will be open from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch and then mirror its hours with the brewery.

“So, most days we’ll open at 4 p.m. and close at 8 p.m.,” she said. “Saturdays and Sundays are a little different. Saturdays we’ll be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays, we’ll be open from noon to 4 p.m.”

Murphy said being within steps of Station One – “our patios are actually connected – we put in stairs so you just step down two steps and you’re on our patio” – the two plan to piggyback off each other.

Because the brewery only offers “small bites,” Murphy said having The Kitchen Table next door provides a dinner option for patrons.

“They can order from us on their phone and we are literally about five steps from the door,” she said. “They can order and pop their head in and grab it – it’s so convenient.”

Murphy said on the flip side, The Kitchen Table will pair some of Station One’s beers with its food.

“We are going to include something that says, ‘we paired this beer with this sandwich’ or ‘we paired this beer with this bowl’ – in a way, they will dance with each other,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”

ETA on an opening
Though Murphy said they hope for a mid-September opening, they aren’t ready to name a specific date quite yet.

“Right now, it is literally turning a yoga hut into a restaurant – we’re all learning,” she said. “But it’s starting to accelerate quickly. We’re hoping by the end of August the equipment will be installed. All the major stuff should be done by the audit, as far as construction.”

From there, Murphy said all the little things will need to be completed.

“Our hope would be – and maybe I’m naive – but with how things are going so far, it looks like it will be mid-September we will open,” she said. 

The Kitchen Table (1733 Riverside Drive) is located right next to Station One Brewing Company, which the restaurant plans to partner with. Erin DeMay Photo

When they do open, Murphy said they will plan a grand opening celebration, which they will announce on their social media platforms.

A dynamic duo
Opening and running a restaurant together, McGowan and Murphy said it’s a dream come true.

“We have a close relationship, and I’m excited to do this with her,” McGowan said. “We work well together. We’re both creative in different ways.”

Murphy said it’s easy to tell “we are mother and daughter.”

“Because I have four daughters and have two sisters and my mom had six girls in her family – it’s important to me to carry on promoting women and being able to do whatever you put your mind to, or at least trying it,” she said. “I know our other daughters will be there – I know they will. That is the way we operate. I am looking forward to seeing our family grow even more that way.”

Murphy said the Vickery Village community operates as a family in its own way as well.

“I feel like it’s a privilege to be invited into that family,” she said. “Whether you’re a business owner or a customer, it operates in a family-oriented way.”

As far as the actual cooking, Murphy said she anticipates being in the kitchen for at least the first couple of years.

“I plan to be primarily in the kitchen for the first year or two at least – just kind of setting those standards and the recipes and making sure things are going the way we want it to,” she said. “I hope to graduate out of doing that every day at some point.”

Since she is currently living in Milwaukee, McGowan said her time in the kitchen won’t be as frequent, but plans to be involved as much as she can.

“I’m hoping to come up and work in the kitchen, too,” she said. “We’ve done a couple of shifts at the brewery, and we love it. So, as much as I can get away, I will.”

Murphy said McGowan will manage the behind-the-scenes on the backend that makes a restaurant successful.

“Whether that’s the books, updating our website, posting on Instagram and updating our menu – she’s definitely going to be vital to us in those aspects,” she said. “That’s how we’re going to work things right now.”

Murphy said it’s likely The Kitchen Table will hire a handful of part-time employees as well for further support.

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