KENTUCKY (2/9/14) — First opened by George Wolf in 1878 as a bakery, then later as a tavern after surviving the prohibition era, Wolf’s Tavern & Restaurant has spanned more than 100 years and three generations with the Wolf family.
When Augusta Wolf Wihelm, granddaughter of Wolf, purchased the tavern in 1951, she was able to keep it running until the early 1980s.
Then in 1987, the tavern went through a substantial amount of cleaning and remodeling and reopened.
However, it remained in operation for several years by different owners until they closed the doors in Dec. of 2009. It was again reopened in 2010, but the business wasn’t booming enough and had to shut the doors once more in 2012.
Then in May 2013, the tavern made a comeback with a new concept and a new name by owners Lindsey Embry and his daughter and son-in-law, Christy and David Osborn.
The family renamed the tavern to Rockhouse at Wolf’s for their other business in Robards called Rockhouse Pizza.
“It’s fascinating when people come in here and tell us the history of this place,” said owner David Osborn. “My father-in-law actually has the original Rockhouse Pizza in Robards. We wanted to bring Rockhouse to Wolf’s Tavern and since everyone already knew Wolf’s, we decided to keep the name as close as to original as possible.”
Osborn said that people still come in and ask about the old menu, the new owners mainly serve pizzas, Stromboli’s, salads, ham sandwiches and, now, corn dogs for kids.
“We did do the bean soup for a while since there were so many requests for it,” said Osborn. “People still ask about the Kentucky Hot Browns and BBQ, but we mostly just serve pizzas and Stromboli’s. That’s what Rockhouse is famous for, Stromboli’s.”
Wolf’s is the second oldest tavern in Kentucky and even though it has most of its original structure, the new owners added a few new features. They also decided to keep the original slogan, “Where Friends Meet.”
“The owner pretty much took care of most of the work inside here and did a great job,” said Osborn. “We did add a drive-thru and had to move some of the stuff out the kitchen to make room to make pizzas. The ovens are huge, and then there are the fryers, rollers and the fridge. You would be surprised how much space it takes.”
Osborn said their busiest nights are usually Fridays and Saturday nights, but Wednesdays aren’t too far behind.
“Our busiest nights are Fridays and Saturdays,” said Osborn. “We also do open mike on Wednesdays and since we are a family style restaurant and smoke free, we have had people as young as 8 years old come in and perform. We used to do live music on both Thursdays and Saturdays, but we are only doing Saturdays now.”
Osborn said their family is very passionate about music and are hoping to revisit Thursday night live music in the spring.
“When we all sat down to talk about open mike, I remember telling Christy and Lindsey I wasn’t really sure what this community really liked,” said Osborne. “Honestly, at first, I was really reserved about the idea. Then we put the speakers and the sound system up and just started it. We also paired up with the music store here in town to help get the word out about open mike night."
Osborn said they have so many talented people, who will come in and play a couple songs at open mike, that they ask them to come back to do a full set on Saturday nights.
“It’s great, we love it. Wednesday nights have been fantastic,” said Osborn. “It’s so crazy how some Wednesdays, it will be a ghost town during the day and then around 6 p.m., the place fills up with people, who want to perform and the age range is from young kids to 70 year olds. We also have a couple employees here who sing, too.”
Osborn said that when they moved to the new location it was really nice of the community to offer support.
“We have a lot of community members who have been coming to this place for years, before we took it over,” said Osborn.
“We just hope they continue to like what we’re offering and continue to come back. We really appreciate the support we have received, because they are the ones who make us or break us. So, we have got to have them.”
Rockhouse at Wolf’s is a family style restaurant located on 31 North Green St. in Henderson.
For more information, visit Rockhouse at Wolf’s on Facebook.
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SurfKY News Reporter
Photos by Amber Averitt
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