KEYPORT — If you liked the old Whiskey Creek Steakhouse, you’re going to love the new Whiskey Creek Steakhouse.
“One of the things we are doing, after several changes that the restaurant made over the last 2 or 3 years, is going back to what Whiskey Creek was,” said Brooke Trunnell. “It was more of your traditional steak house back then. It got away from that.”
Trunnell and her husband Lee, son Jon and daughter-in-law Brandy are taking over the restaurant after owners Pat and Karan Ziarnik retired.
The Trunnells have lived locally for 35 years and raised their son in the area. In fact, Jon worked for the Whiskey Creek Steakhouse as a cook for four years. It’s where he met Brandy, who worked there for 10 years.
“Jon got his start cooking at the Whiskey Creek,” Brooke said. “He met Brandy at Whiskey Creek and now they’re married with a kid.”
The couple left the steakhouse to open the Flying Pickle in Kingston. They sold the business recently. With word of the Ziarniks’ retirement, the Trunnells saw it as an opportunity to return to their roots.
Whiskey Creek Steak-house hit a slump and has cycled through a series of alterations since the economic downturn in 2008. The Ziarniks were forced to sell their own home to keep the place running. The Ziarniks previously reported that the business was hit hard as customers waned and budgets tightened. Menus changed and operating times varied to try to stimulate business.
The show even went through a makeover by the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible.” It was a welcome change for some, but not everyone was keen on the new steakhouse feel. The steakhouse moved across the street; it’s former site is now occupied by Los Corales restaurant.
“When Jon and Brandy left, [the Ziarniks] made some changes and prices went up a bit,” Lee Trunnell said. “Then the thing on TV came in and changed the whole thing around and just destroyed it.”
With the Trunnels’ return, they plan to convert it back to the restaurant Jon and Brandy knew.
“It will be family friendly,” Trunnell said. “It’s got a nice little bar. You can cozy up at a bar table and have dinner with your date. It will also be available for banquets.”
The restaurant will boast a new menu, lunch menu, and a happy hour menu. It will also be open seven days a week.
Lee Trunnell noted that the menus and times were in response to customers’ demands.
“We definitely had to have happy hour and had to have a cheaper lunch menu,” he said. “That is what the public wanted.”
The family worked together on the changes, though Lee had a couple demands of his own.
“There’s four new sports TVs,” he said. “That’s my part of it. As long as we have beer and sports TVs.”
Whiskey Creek closed its doors during the first week of November. It will reopen on Monday.