The Place Where Tourists and Sports Enthusiasts Congregate
Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin
With a name like Greystone Castle, one might expect to see Owners Greg and Sue Ebel make their grand entrance as Lord and Lady Greystone. If so, they would be the hardest working royals in Sturgeon Bay. Along with their sons (Luke, Zeb and Wade), they operate this casual restaurant and bar, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The walls inside proudly display trophies of bucks, bears, boars and fish, just as one would find in the great hall of a medieval manor. And, most who enter this Wisconsin castle spend a lot of leisure time hunting and fishing – just as the royals did back in Merry Olde England. While the Ebels aren’t really titled royalty, they treat their customers regally.
The building housing Greystone Castle was constructed way back in 1898 as a sturdy stagecoach inn. The grey stones resemble those used to build castles in medieval times, and it has certainly stood the test of time. Greg Ebel bought the former corner bar and bait shop in 1978. A skilled carpenter, he has done extensive remodeling over the years. “My husband can fix anything, which is an important talent when you own a building as old as ours,” Sue Ebel said. “He also possesses a great ‘gift of gab,’ essential in a place where fish stories abound. He is on a first-name basis with all of our regular customers.” The couple married in 1983. Both had previously worked at local supper clubs, where they learned the industry ropes. “My family is from Illinois, and we’d spend summers up here,” said Sue. “Sturgeon Bay is a wonderful place to live.”
The biggest menu draw at Greystone Castle is prime rib. “We are the self-proclaimed ‘home of the greatest prime rib sandwich.’ I find it ironic that nearly every fisherman who walks through the door wants the prime rib sandwich,” Sue said. The sandwich bulges with a 14-ounce slab of beef served on Texas toast. Friday and Saturday nights offer three specials: King Cut Prime Rib Dinner, an 18-ounce Porterhouse or the Steak and Stuffed Shrimp Dinner, all accompanied by salad, choice of potato and a basket of rolls. Friday nights keep the staff in constant motion, as it is also “fish fry” night, when locals and tourists feast on pan-fried Lake Perch and Blue Gill.
The Greystone Special 1/3-Pound Burger is another fave. Charbroiled ground Buffalo, Venison and Elk appeal to those wanting to take a walk on the burger wild side.
Sports Spoken Here
Greystone Castle is a dining destination, but it is also a sports bar. Thus, bar food is an important staple. Deep fried cheese curds, boiled peel-and-eat shrimp and potato skins with bacon, cheese and sour cream are washed down with “the coldest beer in Door County.” Hunters, fishermen and Packer fans flock here to discuss the number of points on the antlers of the buck that got away, where the Sturgeons are biting, and how long it will take Aaron Rodgers to break Brett Favre’s records. “Reportedly, Jordy Nelson (Packer wide receiver) loves our prime rib sandwich,” Sue Ebel said. Four giant screen TVs, dartboards and a digital jukebox provide entertainment between the bouts of bragging and bull-slinging.
The Ebels understand the importance of contributing to the community. They take pride in sponsoring dart leagues, stock car racing, bowling leagues, softball and volleyball teams. The Door County snowmobile trail passes nearby, and often much of the winter clientele resembles helmeted astronauts stamping their moon boots as they enter the safe inner space of this warm haven.
Greg Ebel serves as vice-president of the Door County Tavern League, and Sue is proud of her work as coordinator of the League’s “Safe Ride Home” program. As three of their five sons take over the family business, the couple feels secure in the fact that they’ve instilled in them their winning business philosophy: “Work with dedication and determination, serve great food and provide an inviting atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.”