Our Story

A History of Murray's Restaurant /
A Story of Love

A History of Murray's Restaurant /
A Story of Love

FOR MANY YEARS, COUPLES DANCED IN OUR DINING ROOM TO THE "LILTING: SOUNDS OF THE MURRAY'S ORCHESTRA.

FOR MANY YEARS, COUPLES DANCED IN OUR DINING ROOM TO THE "LILTING" SOUNDS OF THE MURRAY'S ORCHESTRA.

Murray’s is a restaurant founded with love, worked with love, and carried on with love.  

For generations of patrons, it has been both a haven and a stage—a place where love has been kindled, nurtured and celebrated. You have trusted us with your engagements, anniversaries and birthdays. You have shared with us your proudest successes and times of sorrow. We thank all who have contributed to this amazing legacy. We are humbled by the privilege to serve you.

The building the restaurant occupies is one of the oldest in the city, built in the 1880s.  

Prior to housing Murray’s it was home to the Hankow Café, which claimed to be the “finest and largest Oriental café in the Northwest.” The Winter Garden Ballroom came next, followed by Delaney’s bar, which boasted the longest bar in Minneapolis (reportedly the entire length of the building).  

A "TYPICAL" STEAK DINNER FROM THE RED FEATHER CAFE IN THE LATE 1930'S.

 

 

Murray’s was started by husband and wife team, Art & Marie Murray.  

Art & Marie met and fell in love in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After they got married they traveled frequently to Minneapolis for Art’s work as a salesman.  They loved the city so much that Art quit his job and they moved here. In 1933 they opened a small restaurant at Penn & Broadway in North Minneapolis and named it The Red Feather Cafe. In 1939 they moved The Red Feather downtown to the Russell Hotel on 4th St., and on August 5, 1946 the industrious couple opened a fancy new restaurant on 6th St and called it Murray’s.

OUR FOUNDERS & GRANDPARENTS, ART & MARIE MURRAY.

 

They quickly developed a reputation for the highest quality food and service. 

Marie’s cousin, Alois Schirle, came all the way from Germany to be the restaurant’s master baker. He and Marie developed our famous garlic toast, and his recipes for pretzels and pies are still used today in our on-site bakery. In 1951 Murray’s was awarded the Silver Butter Knife Steak award by food critic Maurice Dreicer for serving an exceptional piece of meat. Thus our signature steak was born.

MURRAY'S ORIGINAL EXTERIOR FROM 1946-1954. THE "NEW" SIGN, INSTALLED IN 1954, REMAINS TO THIS DAY.

 

While Marie tended guests and the menu, Art was a relentless inventor. 

Art was always trying to solve restaurant service issues with innovative products of his own design. He was shrewd enough to realize that other restaurants shared similar problems and might be interested in his solutions, so in 1946, he established Service Ideas, a side business to manufacture and distribute his creations. 

A FEW OF ART'S INVENTIONS.

Art & Marie loved their businesses and their customers. 

They were warm, spirited hosts and great supporters of downtown Minneapolis. With their own hard work and that of employees who stayed with them for decades, they thrived.  Art was passionate about sports and supported the Gophers, Twins, Vikings and North Stars. Marie’s passion for food and service often took them to New Orleans for culinary inspiration and fun. Their son, Pat and his girlfriend, Joyce, would tag along, as would the legendary sports writer, Sid Hartman.

WAITRESS PRESENTS SILVER BUTTER KNIFE STEAK TO GUESTS, 1956.

Pat started as a dishwasher, and eventually took the reins.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Joyce, in 1960 and joined his parents full-time in the business the same year. Pat shared the same love of the businesses, customers, food and sports teams as his parents. He made certain the consistency and quality of food and service were of the greatest importance. He worked tirelessly for his family, employees, guests and the city. What was good for the city of Minneapolis was good for Murray’s. He carried both businesses through the second generation successfully.

 

PHOTOS OF SOME OF THE MANY DINERS OVER THE YEARS. ART MURRAY IS FEATURED IN LARGE PHOTO IN FOREGROUND.

Today, a third generation of Murray’s continues the legacy.  

Pat and Joyce had five children: Tim, Tina, Jill, Megan and James. Growing up, our entire lives revolved around the business, and we loved the traditions and fanfare. Each of us learned and labored in various roles and positions in the restaurant, and built relationships with generations of patrons along the way. Three of us—Tim, Jill and James—are part of the management team today. 

We are proud to carry on the tradition of Murray’s and operate with the same values that our grandparents and parents passed on to us.  

As your hosts, we genuinely want your experience with us to be a wonderful and memorable one. We want you to feel special, and welcomed.  We are so grateful to you for choosing Murray’s—and becoming a part of this history.

In appreciation,

Tim, Jill & James Murray

JAMES, TIM & JILL MURRAY

View Our History Booklet here.

View our history booklet here!