Stories from the Greystone Castle Walls

At the corner of Madison Avenue and Maple Street on Sturgeon Bay’s west side, the Greystone Castle is filled with stories. 

Greg Ebel bought the bar and eatery in 1978. He was 27, tending bar for Gordy Schumacher at the Scandia Supper Club, and “I was broke,” Greg recalled. “I even borrowed $150 from the previous owner so I had change for the till.”

Today it’s Greg; his wife, Sue; and sons Wade and Luke who serve up refreshments and a complete lunch and dinner menu, along with lots of stories from Ebel-family hunting and fishing trips. Trophy mounts from the trips are everywhere.

Do people immediately notice all the fish, deer, bear, birds – even a wild boar?

“Oh, God,” Greg said, exaggerating, and slowly scanned the bar and dining area with his eyes wide open. “Some people call it a museum.”

John Mallien, a Marine Corps veteran who passed away in 2016, is credited with most of the taxidermy, including one of the two sturgeon.

Luke said the sturgeon might be the most popular, and that tees up his dad’s sturgeon-spearing-on-a-frozen-Lake-Winnebago story.

“I started spearing in 1983 with an old friend of mine, Leo Sarnowski,” Greg said. “So, my wife and I went down there. She sat there for one day and said, ‘I’ll never do that again in my life.’”

Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Greg, on the other hand, sat on the frozen lake each year for 10 years and finally got one of the prized prehistoric giants.

A second sturgeon is mounted in a large frame with a Plexiglas top. It belonged to Greg’s son Andy, whom the family lost in 2016.

“We wanted to simulate looking down through the hole, and you see the back of the fish going through,” Greg said.

Behind the bar there are large, beautiful king salmon. Where were they caught? Luke smiled and was quick with the answer: “Lake Michigan.”

Some secret spots remain secret spots.

Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Greg bought a 16-foot boat in 1981 to fish the big lake.

“I fished for 13 years in that thing,” he said. “Out there with them big charter boats, I don’t know how the hell I did it. Now I’ve got a 24-footer, and I wouldn’t want to go out in one an inch smaller than that.”

The 34.86-pound giant king missed being a tournament winner by .21 pounds.

Greg’s favorite tale might be the “family” bear hunt. He was selected for a Wisconsin bear tag in 1998 and hired a guide from Rhinelander.

“I said, ‘I want a good blind because I’m bringing my three kids so they can watch me shoot the bear,’” Greg said. “The guide asked, ‘What are you shooting with?’ I said a bow and arrow. He said, ‘Oh, no! You ain’t bringing those kids out here with no bow and arrow. You bring a gun.’ I asked, ‘What kind of gun should I bring?’ The guide said, ‘Bring the biggest one ya got!’”

Hunting memories and fishing stories span the decades on the Greystone Castle walls. The most recent is Luke’s 25-pound, nine-ounce northern pike. But where did he catch it? Luke smiled and said, “In the bay.” 

Some secret spots remain secret spots.

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