By Jesse Wood
Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub celebrated its last St. Patrick’s Day celebration under the ownership of the Larson brothers, Erik and Steve, and Tom Phillips, who recently sold the business and building to Wine to Water.
Like every other year, Erik and Steve’s father Ole Larson, former swimming coach at App State, showed up wearing his bright green jacket and a green “dashiki-type” shirt that was given to him by a former Nigerian swimmer of his.
The elder Larson is 95, soon to turn 96.
“He comes in every St. Patrick’s Day, looking like a little leprechaun,” Erik Larson said of his father.
Murphy’s has been in business for about 30 years. More than 15 years ago, Murphy’s moved from its original location on N.C. 105, near where Troy’s Diner and Comfort Suites operate today, to King Street.
Erik Larson noted that the closing party at the N.C. 105 location was among his favorite memories. He noted that the band Stun Guns played and that up to 400 people attended.
“It was just great,” Larson said, adding that the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and App State football games are also “always interesting” with big crowds. Larson noted that once his brother Steve gets back from Costa Rica, they will throw one last hoorah – “just one more time to thank everyone – that has yet to be announced.
Erik thanked the customers and employees for the success it’s had over the years.
“Well, I appreciate every one supporting us the last 30 years. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it, and also everybody that has worked here and helped us along the way,” Larson said. “We wouldn’t have done it on our own.”
According to information filed with the Watauga County Register of Deeds, Wine to Water purchased property from Marone A Mi LLC, which is managed by the Larson brothers, for $1.15 million.
Wine to Water had been leasing the property upstairs. Wine to Water officials told High Country Press when the purchase was announced that the nonprofit will continue to operate the restaurant and bar as usual and that the plan is to use the facility to further Wine to Water’s mission, which is to provide clean water to people in need, in the future.