When a restaurant owner died in a tragic accident, his wife opened the kitchen to the public.
A ghostly figure came in, stole the food and stole away the keys to the kitchen.
When the owner’s wife returned home, her husband was gone.
She took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“There was no way he would have survived,” says Heather Waugh, the chef who opened the restaurant, Hartville Kitchen, in 2015.
“We just knew he was gone.”
In a world of fast-food restaurants, where owners often own the kitchen, Hartuplas Kitchen has a unique twist.
In the spirit of ghost-hunting, it takes the restaurant’s trademark wooden play kitchen and transforms it into a ghost-themed restaurant.
“It was very much a ghost story at Hartville,” Waugh says.
“People were going there to watch the ghosts and the ghost story was the cooking.”
Waugh’s father owned a local brewery, so the kitchen became a place for them to meet and share beer.
They even took the beer out for the ghost hunters to sample.
The kitchen’s wooden play space also served as a training ground for Hartville students, Waugh explains.
They were taught to cook with the ghost, to have a spirit in the kitchen and to do ghost work.
“When you go to the craft brewery, it’s very much an underground community,” she says.
A few of the craft breweries were even haunted.
In 2013, a bartender named Katie was stabbed to death by a customer in a craft brewery on New Year’s Eve.
“That’s when it hit me,” Wagh says.
Katie was a hardworking woman who loved her job, she had a good relationship with her co-workers and they thought her death was random.
She was not the only person who was killed in the craft beer business.
In 2015, a co-worker in the same craft brewery was shot and killed after the bar was closed.
“I was so shaken by that,” Wugh says.
One of the bartenders, Ryan, told the police that he saw a figure coming out of the kitchen window, and when he came outside, the figure said, “Go back in the basement.”
Wagh remembers the bartender asking the figure to leave the restaurant.
It was a scary scene.
The restaurant had been closed for a few days by the time the police arrived.
“My dad had a very good relationship.
He didn’t do anything that would cause him to leave,” she recalls.
“The police said it was his choice to leave.”
But the police said they were going to charge him with murder.
They did not charge the bartender.
“They said, ‘We’re going to take the money, the beer and the liquor and take them away,'” Waugh remembers.
They told Ryan to go back to the home and wait for his mother to come home.
But the next day, Ryan was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
He was found not guilty.
“You could hear the footsteps,” Waghes father says.
He has no idea what the ghost was, but he does know that he had to watch his mother leave the house before the police could take the liquor away.
Waugh is not alone.
Hartville Restaurant owner and chef Heather Wagh is a ghost hunter.
She has had to search for ghosts in the Hartville kitchen for more than a decade.
She even spent a day in the wooded play space to search.
“Everyone says, ‘I’m scared, I’m afraid, I don’t know how to find ghosts.’
But I do,” she explains.
“To find ghosts in your kitchen is like finding a ghost in your backyard.”
WAGH is a former teacher at Hartua College.
She and her husband, Brian, opened HartuPlas Kitchen in 2015, after she graduated from Hartua.
The couple had no prior restaurant experience and decided to make the restaurant their own.
“This was something we felt was really important,” WAGI says.
They hired a chef to take on the job, who WAGHI says “took a lot of guts” to open the restaurant in the first place.
WAGICH says that she has not met any of the ghost hunter’s ghosts, but she did meet a ghost that she believes was killed.
“She’s been seen at the back of the building with the bar, and that’s where the ghost that haunts the kitchen was killed,” WGAW says.
The Waghs have never talked about the ghost but, when asked about it, WAGIC says, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the way the ghost of the woman who was shot in the back was brought to justice.”
WGAWB says that if you have a ghost, please contact the Hartuplantas Kitchen and get in touch with