remains steadfast for three decades
Koerner honored with business award
(January 2008) For more than 30 years, a Madison,
Ind., family-owned restaurant has welcomed both tourists and local residents
with its friendly atmosphere and timeless menu. The award-winning Key
West Shrimp House, which overlooks the Ohio River in downtown Madison,
has become a landmark stop for visitors and residents to the city.
In November, the restaurant added another accolade to its list when
owner Scott Koerner received the 2007 Small Business Person of the Year
from the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, the restaurant was
a State Hospitality Award winner from the Indiana Department of Tourism.
West Shrimp House, which
overlooks the Ohio River in Madison,
Ind., was shut down for a month
during the 1997 river flood.
I think it is simply incredible and awesome that
I won the award, said Koerner, 44. We certainly try to serve
our customers and our community in the best way possible.
Koerner took over the restaurant in 2000 after his parents, Paul and
Pat Koerner, retired.
The elder Koerners bought the restaurant in 1981 from Indianapolis restaurateur
Kendall opened the first Key West Shrimp House during the 1950s in Indianapolis.
In the early 1970s, he decided to open another shrimp house in the historic
town of Madison. He had originally grown up in the area. He bought a
historic building built in the 1800s that formerly housed a button factory
and another restaurant, the Rivertown Inn.
Paul and Patricia Koerner, both 78, began working at the Indianapolis
restaurant in the late 1950s. Pat was a waitress, while Paul worked
as a manager helper and bartender.
Paul said that in 1974 Kendall asked them to relocate to Madison to
manage the new store.
We were very apprehensive at first, said Kendall. Once
we got here, however, we loved it. They had driven through Madison
a few times while delivering shrimp and never imagined they would end
up living here.
Seven years later, Kendall approached Paul with the idea of buying the
restaurant, which they agreed to do. Over the years, Pat and I
worked very long hours and did every job in the restaurant at various
times, said Paul.
Through the years, Key West Shrimp House has remained
relatively untouched by time, except for updates on décor and
a new computer system. The menu has stayed basically the same, with
just a few occasional changes. We havent changed a lot because
what we do works well, said Scott.
Retired Dr. Noel Graves, 83, has been a regular customer since the restaurant
opened. In fact, he used to take his family to the restaurant when it
was known as the Rivertown Inn. The food is consistently good,
and the restaurant is always clean, said Graves, who dines there
two or three times a week. All of the people there are so nice.
After working at the restaurant during high school, Scott Koerner left
Madison to attend Purdue University. Upon graduation, he returned home
and began working at the restaurant while looking for a job. I
like working here, he said. I knew I wanted to do this.
By the late 1990s, Paul and Pat were relying on Scott to help out more
and more. He bought the restaurant from them in 2000.
Besides managing the restaurant, Scott plays guitar in the punk rock
band Shock Treatment. The band plays gigs throughout the
area to raise money for Hospice. So far, they have donated more than
$14,000 to the organization that cares for terminally ill patients.
For more information about Key West Shrimp House,
call (812) 265-2831.
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