River’s Edge restaurant to scale back
“Our family has experienced quite the year,” Billy Raleigh said. “This has been the toughest year of my life, by far.”
Raleigh is the grandson of River’s Edge Apple River Campground and restaurant founders Alice and Jack Raleigh. Their family experienced the deaths of three loved ones in the last year: Bob Raleigh, Bill Raleigh and Mary Schuna.
Bob was Billy’s uncle, Bill was Billy’s dad and Mary was Billy’s aunt.
Talk around the community has ranged from the restaurant closing for good to it being sold. Billy wants to lay those rumors to rest.
“We will be opening the restaurant seasonally for the summer,” Billy said. “But this season we are scaling back on big events. We want to take care of events at the level of satisfaction and enjoyment people are accustomed to. We don’t want to do an event halfway. If we can’t do it 100 percent right, we don’t want to provide the type of event that is not the best.”
They hope to open the restaurant in June, but the date may change.
Billy said the deaths of so many family members in the last year has been stressful.
“The dynamics of the family have changed,” Billy said. “This has all had an indirect effect on the mentality and morale of the family.”
Bill Raleigh was heavily involved in the operation of the restaurant, Billy said of his dad. Schuna and Bob Raleigh, while involved in support roles, were not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.
In addition, Billy’s uncle John, who was in charge of the restaurant and meeting the needs of booked parties, must go through dialysis three days a week now, Billy said.
“John is still involved, but his role has changed due to his health troubles,” Billy said. “I am trying to step into my father’s role and ensure the legacy of the family lives on in a positive way.”
Billy said they have had to cancel multiple events, including the Red, Black & White Gala for the Somerset Fine Arts Department, and wedding receptions.
“This was not an easy decision,” Billy said. “People were counting on the facility.”
Billy emphasized that the camping, tubing and outdoor water recreation end of the business is thriving and they are making improvements for the upcoming summer season.
As for rumors of selling the business, Billy said interested parties have come forward, but the family has no plans at this time to sell. They are open, however, to exploring different options.
“People have made offers and we have had conversations with people that are interested, whether it’s buying or leasing the restaurant,” Billy said. “Right now we are just scaling back on holding big events. We are continuing to move forward with improvements.”
Billy said depending on how things go, they may host events next year. According to the business’ website, the property has been in the Raleigh family since 1946.
For more information on tubing, camping, waterslides or the restaurant, call 715-247-3305, visit the River’s Edge website at appleriver.com or its Facebook page at facebook.com/appleriver.
The River’s Edge Apple River Campground is located two miles east of Somerset, at 1820 Raleigh Rd.