The building that now houses McGraw’s has been part of the history of Tippecanoe County for nearly two hundred years. Originally, the property was going to be part of a small town-in-the-making called Cincinnatus. One building was erected, but the rest of Cincinnatus was not. That singular building still stands today as McGraw’s Steak Chop and Fish House.
How did this lonely structure survive?
Even though Cincinnatus never blossomed, its one building was excellently situated on the west side of the river between Lafayette and Fort Ouiatenon, and there were several small villages lining the west side of the Wabash. One of these villages was Chauncey, which grew into West Lafayette after Purdue University was established there in 1869. Purdue brought a vibrant, thriving community which kept the future McGraw’s building useful and updated. The singular riverfront building and its property served various functions—an inn for a few years, a boathouse for a few years more—as the surrounding area grew and prospered throughout the nineteenth century. In 1948, the building was transformed into a restaurant called Stiney’s.
Formerly Known as Stineys
Known as “Indiana’s most unique restaurant,” Stiney’s offered a friendly, down-home family dining experience while proudly displaying their building’s century of Hoosier (make that Boilermaker) history. Stiney’s was decorated with both antiques from and paintings of the frontier history of the Indiana territory and the Wabash river, especially the figure of Chief Tecumseh and the Battle of Tippecanoe. The restaurant was also proud to point visitors in the direction of Fort Ouiatenon, which was a very important trading center in the early 1700s and is beautifully maintained as a national historic landmark to this day. As a restaurant, Stiney’s was famous for exactly the sort of food McGraw’s is known for today: delicious steaks, hearty meat entrees, and sumptuous seafood specials, especially the fresh local catfish. Stiney’s signature cocktail, a delicious concoction of galiano, vodka, orange juice, and ice cream, was named the “whispering river” after the Wabash.
In 1999 Stiney’s closed, but on super bowl weekend the restaurant was reopened and transformed into McGraw’s Steak Chop & Fish House under a new owner, Todd McGraw. McGraw’s carries on Stiney’s legacy of delicious food and a family-friendly atmosphere, but has set a new gourmet standard for steak and wine selections. Today McGraw’s is proud to serve its superior cuisine at this beautiful and historic riverfront location.