King Street Kitchen employees, patrons reflect as La Crosse restaurant closes

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — After 62 years, the longtime family-owned King Street Kitchenn in La Crosse closed its doors at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Formerly a Country Kitchen, the restaurant has been a part of the Zumach family and the La Crosse community all those years. But today, they said goodbye.

“I’m excited for what’s going to come about, but I’m sad because I love what I do,” said owner Darren Zumach.

For him, the restaurant business is a family affair.

“It’s just what we grew up in. My three boys work here and I work with my sister everyday, Dawn, and my dad. So… it’s been my whole life,” Zumach said.

His son Cooper feels the same.

“People that have watched me since I was 10 years old—I sat at their tables and ate breakfast with them,” Cooper said.

After those 62 years, it feels like family for its customers, too.

“It’s been a landmark in this part of town,” said Randy Liedel, a longtime customer. “There’s a lot of folks like me who are gonna miss it.”

“I’m sad, because I come here about at least five times a week. I don’t cook, so I want them to cook for me for breakfast or lunch,” said Rosie Padgett, another customer. “I may have to cook! I don’t want to do that.” 

Presented with an opportunity to sell, the Zumachs are closing the community staple.

“I can’t say it enough. All the customers that we’ve had over the years have just meant so much to me and everybody else here, I know that. A lot of special, special people,” said Robin Kidd, a hostess.

This was a kitchen that built friendships and families.

“There’s 58 or 59 people that have met and married that worked in this place since my dad’s been here,” Darren Zumach said.

“We’ve had just so many good employees, it’s hard. You know, it’s hard to tell them. It’s hard to tell my sister and my dad,” Zumach said.

But he knows it’s time to go.

“But it’s the right time — it is. You know, times are changing. And it’s time,” Zumach said.

Zumach says after a lifetime of work, he will be spending some time fishing, hunting and finally learning what it’s like to have a weekend off.

He tells us that he’s thankful to all the customers who’ve stuck around over the years and the employees who kept them coming.

Plans are in the works for a CCF bank to be built in the restaurant’s location.

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