Elkhart Lake restaurant owner and caterer Scott McMurray is opening a third restaurant – this time in Fond du Lac at the site of the former Trinity Restaurant – a bistro type eatery that closed this past December. Three Guys and a Grill at Trinity is McMurray’s new venture in Fond du Lac. Tentative plans are to open on April 1.
While the menu he is bringing to his Fond du Lac restaurant is unique – so is the building, located downtown at 40 E. Division Street. It was a former church – Immanuel Trinity – which led to “Trinity” being carried through in the name of the first restaurant launched there as well as McMurray’s restaurant.
But that’s where any similarities end.
“It won’t be anything like the former restaurant that operated out of here,” McMurray said, adding that the menu will be very affordable and offers a blend of favorites from his two Elkhart Lake restaurants.
“I’m bringing the best of my pizza and pasta dishes from our Italian restaurant (Three Guys and a Pizza Pie) and some of the most popular charcoal grilled menu offerings from our other restaurant (Three Guys and at Marsh Lodge).”One signature dish to watch for is the Jack Daniels Ribeye Steak, grilled using McMurray’s special hardwood charcoal grill which was recently installed at the new Fond du Lac setting. “It’s one of the few changes we needed to make here,” McMurray said. “We’re also bringing our number one selling Italian dish – Tortellini pasta tossed with pine nuts, mushrooms and caramelized onions in a Marsala cream sauce.”
Another menu item predicted to be as popular here as it is in Elkhart Lake is the Charcoal Grilled Walleye Dinner. It will be on the menu 7 days a week. There will also be a Friday night fish fry special.
For pizza lovers, McMurray is bringing some of the favorites from their Italian restaurant. “We’ll offer four pizza specialties here including our from-scratch taco pizza and our number one seller – the Deluxe pizza.”
Although the charcoal grill is a new addition to the Fond du lac restaurant’s kitchen, no other changes needed to be made. “The building is gorgeous and was so nicely transitioned from being a church to a restaurant,” McMurray said. “But one thing we are doing is opening for more seating by using the back room area previously reserved for large events. Instead of seating 65 people, we will be able to seat 150.” In the loft area, high above the newly dedicated back-room dining space, customers will discover the addition of a martini bar and lounge. The main bar will have more elbow room as former dining tables near the main (front) entrance will now serve as the bar’s cocktail lounge area, complete with a fireplace.
The outdoor patio is a huge draw for this restaurant and McMurray will use it to the fullest, weather permitting. “We plan to continue to have music out there at times, but one of the biggest changes will be our grills. Watch for occasional pig roasts, steak fries and charcoal grilled chicken dinners. Customers will be able to purchase items hot off the grill.”
“Excellent customer service is our hallmark,” McMurray said, noting so far 40 employees have been hired and trained. “Because of prior issues here, we understand there is a ‘number one’ goal, to provide the level of service needed. We will offer outstanding well-groomed dining service that will make your experience a pleasurable one.”
Catering is also an arm of the business McMurray offers in the area. In fact, catering with a grill is how he and his two partners at the time got their start nearly 20 years ago. “We began with one handmade grill, some coolers and store shelving in a barn and it grew into a thriving restaurant and catering business,” McMurray said, noting they cater with eight traveling grills and as far as 100 or more miles. “We cater all kinds of events with our traveling grills seven days a week, year ‘round.” McMurray says in summer he nearly doubles the number of employees. “We could have a need for as many as 80 part-time employees here in Fond du Lac during peak season.”
The unique factor of his restaurants and catering is the cooking method — cooking over nothing but hardwood charcoal and the fact everything is made from scratch. “We even make all our pasta from scratch.”
While there are now just two owners rather than three, McMurray and his business partner Dave D’Angelico say they learned the trade in the comfort of their back yards.
“It simply began with a love for grilling and experimenting with various recipes,” McMurray said.
As Three Guys and a Grill at Trinity prepares to open, McMurray and his wife Jean and family are settling into a new home they purchased in Fond du Lac.
With four daughters and a son ranging in age from 15-25, the family now resides closer to the high school two of their daughters attend – Winnebago Lutheran Academy. “It was quite a distance from our Sheboygan area home.”
McMurray was involved with the catering business in Fond du Lac even before purchasing the restaurant here, and he foresees expanding into more catering as he sets down roots. “In the past couple of years I’ve been catering to businesses like Mercury Marine and others. I’ve also built a partnership with the Thelma Sadoff Art Center which is right next door to Trinity.”
As for the restaurant, McMurray promises to make it affordable to everyone. “It will be more user-friendly in cost, service and selections. We want everyone in Fond du Lac to be able to enjoy a great dinner at affordable prices and relax in this beautiful setting.”