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Murphy’s Watering Hole co-owner Diana Murphy sits in the covered outdoor seating area in front of the newly-opened Bingen restaurant. Flex space inside the bar can be used once inside seating restrictions are relaxed; parking area behind the restaurant provides even more room for the Murphys to operate. 

Diana Murphy of Murphy’s Family Watering Hole, Bingen’s newest restaurant, acknowledges that her loyal customers from Chip’s Tavern “miss their tater tots.”

Serving what is, for now, a limited menu, Murphy notes that the newly-refurbished restaurant and bar has no freezer. “Everything’s fresh,” she said.

Diana and her husband, Larry, have owned Chips for several years and could not serve dine-in once coronavirus restrictions took hold in March. No bar stools could be used and tables were too close together. Smoked brisket baskets and burgers went out the front door of Chips for a few weeks but the Murphys closed it, with hopes of restarting the cozy, memorabilia-filled tavern at a later date. Chips’ layout precluded more than about two parties inside at a time, and even with some sort of restrictive reopening of the space, many customers were not comfortable themselves, nor with the idea of bring children or elderly guests to eat. 

The Murphys turned their attention directly across the street to the Watering Hole, which is large enough for eight socially-distant tables in the dining room, plus two more tables in the 21-and-over-bar area, and another four tables outside under an awning, along Steuben Street (Highway 14). Murphy and staff wear masks at all times and rigorously sanitizes surfaces after each use.

“We wanted a family location, where you can be comfortable and have good food and be part of the community,” said Murphy. So the Murphy’s opened up across the street on June 26.

The Watering Hole had a “soft” opening, “but it was not so soft,” Murphy joked. “We packed them in right away, within our (COVID-19) limitations, but it was packed.

“People are happy there’s this space, happy to can get out,” she said.

In addition to brisket, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, mac-and-cheese, and soups and salads, the Watering Hole has a full bar and plenty of craft beer and cider on tap.

Eventually, the Murphys hope to start serving breakfast, with smoked corn beef hash, egg dishes and chicken and waffles among the menu items.

The restaurant, 216 W. Steuben St., is open noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with the potential for expanded hours on weekends, Murphy said.

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