The Rustic Table: Winchester restaurant is a true family affair


WINCHESTER, N.H. — The Rustic Table, formerly the Blue Bird, is under new ownership, and embodies the term family-business.

New owner Steven Morse said he works with his mother Ruth Archibald, and sister Lynne Archibald, as his management team. Further, Morse said his family assisted him during all of the renovations that have been taking place since September of 2014.

"Being in the town I grew up in, I had aunts and uncles and family ... and a lot of people (who) stepped up when we were renovating. It was a fun, family event," Morse said.

Ruth Archibald said many family members worked together on weekends to complete the renovations.

"We called (ourselves) the weekend warriors because we all had full-time jobs ... so we worked on it every weekend.

Morse's sister and kitchen manager, Lynne Archibald, said that she and her mother had previously been working for corporate food services, and wanted a change.

"We wanted to be out (of corporate), and do something new and exciting so we jumped on it," Lynne Archibald said.

Referring to owning a restaurant, Morse said it has always been something he wanted to do.

"I do a lot of renovations with old wood ... and it's always been a dream to do an inn or restaurant of some sort," Morse said.

He said the town did not have a nice, more upscale restaurant in the immediate area, something he hopes The Rustic Table will provide.

Regarding the renovations, Morse said there was a lot of work to put in.

"We pretty much tore the whole building apart and gave it a complete makeover," he said.

Ruth Archibald said the restaurant's previous state was not ideal.

"It was in pretty bad shape. The prior owner had not put any money into it in 13 years so it was pretty much falling apart.

Morse also owns a construction company, Steve Morse Carpentry Incorporated in Bondville, Vt. He said a lot of the materials used to renovate the restaurant came from other projects through this company.

"I do a lot of renovations, and I've also taken down old barns. In the town of Brownsville, Vermont, I had taken down a church, and we reclaimed a lot of the beams ... and some barn wood," Morse said. "I re-did the whole dining room area in the restaurant with a lot of the old wood."

In addition to renovating the dining room area, Morse said he also made the cabinets and the bar area, all of it hand-crafted.

Ruth Archibald said she is very proud of Morse for the result of all the work put into renovation.

"He built all the tables and the bar himself. All the tables are very rustic. It's very pretty," Ruth Archibald said. "When people come through the door they don't think it's the same restaurant."

As far as the food goes, Lynne Archibald said it is all very good.

"I would say our braised beef with mushroom ravioli is one of our top sellers. Fried chicken goes really well. We sell so many hamburgers it's unbelievable," Lynne Archibald said.

Morse said "My sister's creative with what's in the kitchen. They're always trying to mix up the specials."

Lynne Archibald said they serve breakfast on weekends, and lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.

"Everybody seems to enjoy the food and everything's home-made. What we do, we do from our hearts. We put a lot of passion into it and we just hope people come out and try us," Lynne Archibald said.

Those looking to dine at The Rustic Table can find it on 320 Keene Road (Route 10) in Winchester.

Devon Roberts is a journalism student at Keene, N.H., State College. She can be contacted at


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