Light & Verity

Struggling Mory's closes its doors

View full image

Yale without Mory's? Once it would have been unthinkable. But just before Christmas, the storied 148-year-old club for Yalies closed indefinitely and laid off all but one of its employees, leaving the Whiffenpoofs without their standing Monday night gig—and students, faculty, and alumni without a reliable supplier of Old Yale ambience.

Mory's has been losing money for the last few years (see "Will Mory's Survive?" September/October), but last fall's economic downturn contributed to what a Mory's press release called a "perfect storm of economic issues, including operating losses driven by the business declines faced by virtually all restaurants, and a decline in the value of its endowment due to the market."

Christopher Getman ’64, who recently became president of the club's board of governors, says Mory's is working on a plan to reopen in the fall with a new chef and manager, a new menu, a bar, and longer evening hours. The plan will likely include repairs and renovations to the Mory's building, which needs attention due to years of deferred maintenance. Getman says the work may also include building a bar and improving the upstairs banquet rooms. "We're trying to de-shabbify the place," says Getman.

The goal, says Mory's treasurer Melanie Ginter ’78, is to make Mory's a place for students again. "It's really important to get back to that," says Ginter. "And for me personally it's just a whole lot more fun there when there are students around"—both undergraduates and graduate students. A new student-centered Mory's, she explains, would have an inexpensive late-night pub menu "and, frankly, cheaper beer."

First, though, Getman says they must raise "a large amount of money" to cover the renovations and the startup costs of reopening. Members have already been invited to contribute $50 to become part of a group called the Friends of Mory's, but Getman says they will also need help from major donors. "We've been talking to a lot of people," says Getman, "and they've all said, 'Give us a business plan. Once we know what direction you're headed and how you're planning to do it, if it makes sense, we'll help you out.'" Getman says the club will also seek to "keep labor costs, including those of management, at more reasonable levels than in the past."

In the meantime, while Mory's is closed, members in need of an exclusive lunch spot can try the Quinnipiack Club, the Graduate Club, and the New Haven Lawn Club, all of which are opening their doors to Mory's members during the hiatus. A new website,, aims to keep members informed and connected during the closing. And as for the Whiffenpoofs, they are trying out other local places to sing for their supper. "Wherever we go," says Whiffenpoof Jamie Warlick ’10, "our loyalty will always be to Mory's."  

The comment period has expired.