TOWN OF FULTON – The new owner of The Anchor in Newville sees the restaurant as an entertainment destination that can attract musicians and comedians touring between Minneapolis and Chicago. Kevin Brown takes over for longtime owner John Kinnett, who was in charge for 22 years. The transaction becomes official Wednesday, Kinnett said.
Kinnett gave up his Class B beer and liquor license for the venue. The Fulton Town Board approved Brown’s re-application for the license and jukebox and game machine licenses at its monthly meeting Tuesday night. Kinnett marveled at some of Brown’s ideas for the business. Brown, a Milton native, previously worked at resorts in Miami, Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean. When he moved back to Rock County to raise his family, he didn’t think there was enough to do. He sees The Anchor as a site for recognizable entertainers who want to play small shows, he told The Gazette.
“We just see the potential in The Anchor to be a real hub,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of communities we can pull from to make it a real entertainment venue.” Brown told the board he was aware of town ordinances and would not play loud music after 11 p.m. He believes The Anchor’s new building is a physical asset after it was rebuilt several years ago. It’s also located in a prime waterfront location on the Rock River adjacent to Interstate 90/39.
When a fire destroyed the original Anchor Inn in 2014, Kinnett decided to rebuild. The new facility had revamped bar and restaurant spaces and was more than twice as big as the previous building. It reopened nearly a year after the fire caused $500,000 to $1 million in damage, according to Gazette reporting at the time. Business has been good since reopening in 2015, Kinnett said. But he was getting older and his kids had pursued different careers. It was time to move on and let someone else take over, he said. He and his wife plan to do some extended traveling. Kinnett will
continue summer boat rentals at The Anchor and be a consultant for Brown as needed, he said.
Kinnett said he will always appreciate the longtime customers who returned to a new facility after the fire. “Our heart and souls are into that place,” he said. “We’re going to miss it.”