Kenny’s to close briefly for renovations

Kim Mohrfeld rings up customers Friday at Kenny’s Oak Grill. The 50-year-old restaurant will close at 2 p.m. today for renovations. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Kim Mohrfeld rings up customers Friday at Kenny’s Oak Grill. The 50-year-old restaurant will close at 2 p.m. today for renovations. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

A family restaurant is getting a new look to celebrate 50 years of business.

Kenny’s Oak Grill will start its 50th anniversary celebration with a small renovation, including getting new booths, tables, chairs, wall coverings and more. The restaurant will close at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and owner Kenneth “Kenny” Knutson hoped to reopen the business on Friday, but it might not reopen until Saturday or Sunday depending on how the renovation goes.

“We’ve been really busy the last few years, and things are just wearing out,” Knutson said. “We just want to kind of refresh things and give a little bit of a new look to the customers.”

Kenny’s Oak Grill has been at 307 W. Oakland Ave. for 23 years after being located across the street for 27 years. Knutson is excited to see the finished project and celebrate 50 years with customers.

“We’re kind of waiting to see how this goes and when we’re actually going to get open and completed, we’ll do some specials and some fun things,” he said.

Kenneth and Joanne Knutson and their daughter Kim Mohrfeld, right, stand under the Kenny’s Oak Grill sign Friday morning. The family has had a long run with the popular restaurant, open these past 50 years.  Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Kenneth and Joanne Knutson and their daughter Kim Mohrfeld, right, stand under the Kenny’s Oak Grill sign Friday morning. The family has had a long run with the popular restaurant, open these past 50 years.
Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Knutson hopes to hold a grand reopening sometime in October to show off the changes and thank the community that has supported the restaurant for so many years.

“I’m really grateful,” Knutson said. “The town has really treated us well and all the people — all the customers and so on — kind of become friends, and it’s almost like a huge family.”

Knutson said he and his family didn’t want to change the family business too much because the customers seem to like the restaurant as it is, but he hopes the changes will make things nicer and update things that are getting rundown.

The renovation has been planned for a while, as Knutson said the family had hoped to complete it this spring, but they shopped around for just the right booths and tables.

“Within a couple weeks we’ll be done with it and just be enjoying our new surroundings,” Knutson said.

Knutson bought the restaurant after being in the restaurant business about six years when the owners decided to sell.

“It was something that I enjoyed doing even back then,” he said. “I liked the business, I like the action, I like the people and the challenges.”

He said the business is something that people fall in love with and continue to come back to. Some of the employees who worked at Kenny’s when they were in school still work at the business.

“Why we do it, I don’t know, I guess you’ve got to love it or you wouldn’t be able to,” Knutson said. “Because it is a lot of hours, a lot of work, a lot of extra curricular stuff going on, but it’s been good to us. I like what I do, I’ve met a lot of people — a lot of neat, neat people — as customers, as employees and friends. It’s a good place to get acquainted with people.”

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