A Love for People, Food and the River


Chrissy Murrah, the new Dining Room Manager at the Ore House Restaurant, started as a server two years ago. Her restaurant experience, however, extends back even farther than that. When Murrah was 15, she and her best friend started working at Momma’s Boy, which used to be an Italian restaurant on North Main. Murrah moved on to work at Carver’s, and then, through a friend’s suggestion, she applied to the Ore House. She hasn’t looked back. “Being in the restaurant business for so long makes you really appreciate a really great one,” said Murrah. “I know how lucky I am. There are so many opportunities if I work hard in a really great place.”

Murrah, born and raised in Durango, grew up on the river and conscious of healthy food choices with a mother in the healthcare field. Her food education continued to develop at the Ore House as she learned about sustainability and local food. Currently, Murrah lives on a farm with her boyfriend, Kevin Banash, and their three rescue dogs, Hance, Alabama and Max, and she has seen the production of food and the work required. “Learning the bits and pieces have been interesting,” said Murrah. “Ryan gets these incredible products and stands behind them. It’s cool to work for someone like that with a product that I can stand behind. Everything I’m serving has been well treated and happy. It’s a smart choice.”

Murrah and Banash also continue to spend as much time as possible on the river with rafting trips and paddle boarding. Last year, they completed a 3-week trip down the Grand Canyon and found a two-month-old puppy running across the highway on their way back to Durango. They kept the puppy, who became Hance, a name inspired by their river trip. Hance now goes paddle boarding with Murrah and on river trips when possible. In four weeks, they are heading to Idaho with the dogs for a three-week trip down the Main Salmon River. “My all-time favorite part of rafting trips is planning the menu, then shopping it, prepping it, freezing it and cooking it on the river,” said Murrah. “It’s kind of empowering to be in charge of a trip. Not a lot of girls get to do that.”

With a job that starts in the evenings, Murrah paddle boards or hikes as much as possible before heading to the restaurant to ensure that everyone, from the staff to the customers, has a great experience. Her new responsibilities include hiring, scheduling, and the various bits and pieces of helping the restaurant run smoothly. “The experience starts with the staff,” said Murrah. “The team is important here. We’re not hiring for positions or hours, we’re hiring people.”

Originally published on the Ore House’s website during July 2014.

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