One of the best compliments Tony DeMaro hears about the way the Murphy’s Pub & Grill restoration turned out is when people explore the restaurant’s new design features and wonder, “Is that original?”

He and the property’s two other owners spent six months to gut the 1911 Rapid City Garage building and create their vision of a nice, comfortable restaurant they would want to come to with their friends and family.

They exposed the limestone brick walls, cleaned the industrial wooden trusses and developed an open floor plan that provides a variety of cozy seating areas while still giving a view of the whole room. With the hardwood floor, leather chairs, distressed wainscoting and glowing industrial light fixtures, “A tourist who comes in here will never know this hasn’t been here for 100 years,” DeMaro said.DeMaro said the changes bring Murphy’s back to the class of restaurant it was in the 1980s and remove all traces of the dark nightclub it had been recently before it went into foreclosure.

“I like to stand in the front and just watch people’s reaction,” DeMaro said. “They say they can’t even recognize it.”Pat Roseland, chairman of the city Historic Preservation Commission and the owner of a nearby building, had dinner there June 3, the night it opened to guests. He liked it so much he went back for a drink a few days later. The restaurant opened to the public Monday. The owners are also rehabbing the patio and adding an outdoor bar, which will open in July.

“I think it’s pretty incredible,” Roseland said of the remodel. He liked how the owners were willing to adjust their design plans as they demolished the interior and discovered interesting historic elements.
“It just feels like a natural place to be,” Roseland said. “It’s very much an asset to downtown Rapid City.”With several new restaurants opening this year downtown and along Interstate 90, there will be heavy competition for diners’ dollars. DeMaro said Murphy’s will succeed by being different.

“We’ll offer unique items that no one else is doing,” he said.
It’s not a steakhouse, though there is a New York strip on the menu, along with buffalo meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, roast chicken, rack of lamb and fish and chips. DeMaro said everything is homemade daily on site. Murphy’s also has beers offered nowhere else in the state, like New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Vriendan Ale and Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale.When dinner’s over, in the back of the restaurant there’s a game room with a basketball hoop game, skee ball, pool tables and shufflepuck tables.

“It’s back to the good old Murphy’s,” DeMaro said. “It’s got something for everybody.”