Kurtis & KristaMeet the new owners!

Carrying forward the Ken & Sue’s Tradition

Ken and Sue Fusco, owners of Ken & Sue’s Restaurant, are retiring. But rest assured, Ken & Sue’s is not closing. The Fuscos have announced that they have found the right couple to take over and continue with the success they have cultivated over the past 23 years on Main Avenue in historic downtown Durango. Kurtis Murphy, their current Head Chef, will carry the torch with the same wonderful staff, recipes and traditions, offering a top-quality dining experience.

Ken and Sue’s opened in 1998. The American bistro-style restaurant has consistently received a 5 Star rating from Trip Advisor, and for nine years since the inception of The Durango Herald’s Top Reader’s Choice Awards, Ken & Sue’s has annually won Best Restaurant, Best Fine Dining, and Best Servers as well as assorted other awards including Best Patio Dining, Steak, and Dessert. The combination of Chef Ken’s personally crafted menu, paired with Sue’s well trained and highly professional staff, ensured that Ken & Sue’s has been a perennial favorite of both locals and out of town visitors.

Kurtis Murphy has over 25 years of restaurant experience. In 1997, he moved to Durango and began working at the iconic Sweeny’s Steakhouse where he was quickly promoted to management positions. While at Sweeny’s, Kurtis met and married Durango native and coworker Krista Mahlum.

In 2003, Kurtis graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. and began his Externship at Allred’s restaurant, in Telluride. At Allred’s, Kurtis spent two years working under the guidance of the area’s top chefs. In Telluride, Kurtis later became the General Manger of the mid-mountain ski venue, Gorrono Ranch. For five years, Kurtis hosted over 250 high-end weddings, many large events, and big-name concerts, including the epic 2017 String Cheese Incident show.

After returning to Durango, Kurtis has been Head Chef at Ken & Sues restaurant while Krista has served and bartended. For many years, Kurtis has enjoyed working alongside Ken and Sue, and has become very familiar with their approach, style, and high standards for running their restaurant, a favorite of both locals and tourists.

Kurtis and Krista have two boys, Riley, 13 and Charlie, 11 years old. They are currently building a home near Krista’s parents in the beautiful Pine River Valley.

It seems a natural progression for the Fuscos to pursue their dream of retirement, while Kurtis and Krista will follow their dream of owning a restaurant in Durango. “We have been waiting for the right fit to pass along the restaurant that we started over 20 years ago and is so close to our heart. We have known Kurtis and Krista almost that long, and now the time is right for Kurtis to step into Ken’s shoes, but also to make the place his own. We know they will be stewards to the community just as we have been. And Ken and I plan to remain in the community and be available to Kurtis and Krista as consultants and support long into the future,” said Sue.

Kurtis and Krista will rebrand the restaurant “636 Main Ave”. Regulars to the establishment, however, should notice little change as far as staff, menu and flow of the business. Kurtis Murphy does hope to soon bring back some old favorites that were pared down out of necessity during COVID. Examples include the eventual return to opening seven days a week and offering the ever-popular “parker house rolls” and tomato bisque soup, an expanded menu, as well as creative and tasty nightly specials.