Mory’s to go on indefinite hiatus

Mory’s will not reopen immediately after winter break and may shut its doors for good, said Christopher Getman ’64, the newly appointed president of Mory’s Board of Governors.

The iconic eating club’s decision to close follows a series of economic hardships, Getman said. Over the next few months, he said, the Yale-exclusive institution, founded in 1849, will rethink its operating policies and membership recruitment.

A woman stands outside of Mory’s, a campus eating club originally located on the corner of Temple and Center streets. Many groups have made it a bonding tradition to toast at Mory’s.
Zoe Pershing-Foley
A woman stands outside of Mory’s, a campus eating club originally located on the corner of Temple and Center streets. Many groups have made it a bonding tradition to toast at Mory’s.

“Last week we realized if we stayed opened we would be flat broke by the middle of January,” Getman said. “So we decided to close so we could honor our obligations to vendors.”

Getman said revenues and the value of Mory’s endowment have declined “big time.” A Mory’s press release on Friday attributed these losses to higher operating costs “faced by virtually all restaurants” and the poor economic climate. The News reported in September that Mory’s lost nearly $170,000 in 2006, an indication of the club’s financial situation.

During the Mory’s closure, he said, the management team will focus on making the club more appealing to students. The club will also explore renovating its “aging facility,” as the press release put it.

“There is a perception that Mory’s is an elitist place, which it is not,” he said. “So we are going to try to get that message out to students the best way we can.”

Mory’s initially became successful by focusing its attention on undergraduates, Larned Professor Emeritus of History and Yale historian Gaddis Smith ’54 GRD ’61 said. When Mory’s first opened more than 150 years ago, the residential college system had not yet been implemented. It was an inexpensive place for students, faculty and even University presidents — such as A. Whitney Griswold and A. Bartlett Giamatti — to eat, Smith said.

Smith blamed Mory’s recent hardships on the increased number of restaurants in the New Haven area, the perception that New Haven is relatively unsafe at night and “old-fashioned” food. Plus, Smith added, Mory’s became less fashionable to students over time as Yale became a more diverse place.

“The club for all undergraduates doesn’t fit,” he said.

A Mory’s membership used to last for a lifetime, but the club recently amended its policy to include an annual fee for members. Smith said he paid the voluntary fee last summer.

Getman said new policies implemented in September — including later hours, a relaxed dress code and a “pub-style” menu — have helped the club expand its clientele. In November, 250 students signed up for Mory’s memberships, he said. Still, he added, the changes were not effective enough to keep the club solvent.

“It was just too little too late,” Getman said.

Steven Blumenfeld ’11, an associate director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, has been coordinating an initiative to help garner student interest in Mory’s. Blumenfeld said that he was approached by Yale political science and School of Management professor Douglas Rae, who is also on the Board of Governors at Mory’s, to head the initiative.

Blumenfeld’s efforts have included organizing the open house lunch at Mory’s on the same day as the YHAAP fast. That event helped recruit 180 new members. He also said he has been working to change Mory’s menu.

The closure does not mean that the efforts have failed, Blumenfeld added.

“Mory’s isn’t dead,” he said. “Perhaps the internal structure of Mory’s is going to change radically.”

Peter Johnston ’09, who created the Facebook group group “Bailout Mory’s Temple Bar,” said that Mory’s has become a “staid” establishment. Johnston told the News on Saturday he believes that Mory’s needs to transform to become more of a “watering hole for students.”

“It became a little too formal over time for it to be relevant to students,” he said.

Johnston said he is considering a march from Mory’s to Woodbridge Hall on Jan. 12 to encourage University President Richard Levin to bail out Mory’s.

“We have to use our funds to maintain the essentials of the Yale experience,” he said.

But Getman, who replaced Cheever Tyler as president of the Board of Governors this week, said he does not believe the University will help Mory’s.

If Mory’s cannot find a way to sustain itself, it will be forced to close for good, Getman said. Events that were planned to take place at Mory’s in the months following winter break will be canceled, he added.

Right now, Getman said, the club’s management is struggling to come up with ways to restore Mory’s to its former glory.

“We’re at a loss right now,” he said. “We are hoping maybe some alumni may step forward and give us a cushion to start again. But, who knows? We have tried that in the past and it hasn’t worked so far.”

Comments

  • '10

    Another victim of the plunging endowment?

  • Anonymous

    i never really got what the big deal was anyways?

  • Yayylie

    Hah. Mory, when you operate a members-only restaurant, when most of your members leave town after four years, and when you make no effort to advertise, what do you think is going to happen, especially when recession hits?! Running out of good ideas? Make the place open to anyone with a Yale ID with no yearly fee, charge a premium for room reservations, have a reasonable menu and rates, advertise regularly in the YDN especially in the beginning of the year, and you should see a turnaround. Keep the place elitist, members only, sponsorship from existing member needed to join, formal dress expected, etc, or even do nothing to dispel those perceptions, and you will have to shut down for good. Mory, let me know when you're going to have the garage sale to sell those tables with the carvings in them. They'll sure make nice picnic tables for my patio. Put me down for one of them big cups as well - I think it could make a nice birdbath.

  • Alum the bum

    Well duh!! When your operating expenses are ridiculously high due to absurdly generous benefits for your staff, of course you're gonna go out of business. Make your employees accept fewer benefits just like GM is going to make the UAW employees accept fewer benefits and maybe you'll have a chance in hell of staying open. Oh wait, aren't Mory's employees unionized? If so, forget everything I just wrote…you haven't a chance in hell in getting themm to accept a penny less. Good bye Mory's.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, Mory's CANNOT fail. The doodle is one thing -- letting that fail is fine -- but Mory's is too attached to Yale to let it fail. This should be obvious, but I thought I'd state the obvious.

    Second, agreed w/ # 3 yayylie that the business model needs to change. Opening it up to all Yale affiliates w/ an id would be a start, maybe splitting the dining room so that at least part of Mory's doesn't require dress might also help. Mory's needs to be more far more visible in the community if it wants to survive.

    However, let me be very clear: if we are willing to support the idiots in Detroit as a nation we should at least save Mory's as an institution!

  • BK '12

    Having already completed a semester at Yale, I have never once heard of anyone I know going to Mory's. I have no idea where it is, and no idea how to get in. I'm still unsure as to whether its a restaurant or club or inn or whatever. If Mory's wants to survive, it has to get the word out to students.

  • Facultus Non-Elitarus

    GM = bloated, out of touch with reality, overpriced, sub-par quality

    Mory's = ibid

  • br '11

    big surprise that no-one wants to eat at a restaurant with bad food and obnoxious staff. even if mory's does re-open, it won't be what it once was, #5; not only can mory's fail, but it already has, and inevitably will not succeed in any true sense. the culture in which it flourished is long gone and will never return.

  • Anonymous

    For sentiment's sake, I hope that Mory's makes it, and I think that "Yayylie" has some good suggestions.

    I am surprised at the level of schadenfreude at the expense of working Americans exhibited in the comments, however. I am sure there was no shortage of well-heeled Yalies among the financial experts on Wall Street who have plunged the country into economic chaos, and yet I do not hear any criticism of their socialised losses. Rather, we hear nothing but carping at the working stiffs who join unions to earn a fraction of the typical pay of privileged Ivy Leaguers. As for the "idiots in Detroit," lets hear no more of that so long as we are regularly bailing out the idiots in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida who insist on living in hurricane country without even elementary precautions, or the idiots in California who build their houses over mud slides and fault lines.

  • Moussach

    I've got pretzels in my moustache and I think the end is near. Who will save me from my curse?

  • Jack

    I agree that the food has to improve, as well as the service. But Yale lost its faculty club in the 1970s, and if it now loses Mory's we'll be the only school I know without a place for faculty to socialize. I'm a member because out-of-town visitors really like the place (food aside). Yale should bail it out-- with conditions, such as a better menu. And a better kitchen. Vegetables don't have to be boiled for an hour.

  • @BK'12

    Though I assume you know what and where Toad's is, correct?

  • Yale 10

    @ Charles D.

    Thanks for the comments. Remember, though, that YDN comments are usually reactionary, so the anti-union sentiment is no surprise, especially among people who care about Mory's. Go figure.

    Myself, I couldn't care less whether it survives or not. As for whether Yale should bail it out, it depends on financial specifics …

  • Rarebit Yale Faculty

    If the undergrads and alumni won't support it, Yale should buy Mory's and make it into a faculty club. I was amazed upon my arrival at Yale that no faculty club existed. At the risk of incurring wrath, I should point out that Harvard has a marvelous faculty club that is a wonderful place to take visiting scholars. As a world class university, it would be a shame to have to take professors from Cambridge, Oxford, et al. to the lunch carts on Prospect and Sachem.

  • BR10

    Oh Peter Johnston…does he know people who will march with him? I would like to see this.

    It's a little bit sad, to me, that Mory's is closing, because it is rather iconic, but on the other hand, I've never been there, and have never felt that I was missing out.

    I agree with most of what people said about what will help it stay open--make it more accessible to more people. Make students WANT to go to Mory's. Although it is a shame that people think the dress code, of all things, is the problem. Dressing respectfully every once in a while never hurt anybody, and Yale so rarely requires people to do so.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that places like Mory's and the Doodle suffer whilst Toad's thrives is a sad commentary on the contemporary student culture at Yale. Let the fingers be pointed at whomever -- perhaps Mory's and the Doodle didn't adequately 'change with the times' -- but it is ultimately the students themselves who have changed while debaucherous the old institutions have remain true to their roots. Mory's, the Doodle: these were some of the few authentically "Yale" institutions left in New Haven. With the talented American college student increasingly preferring the apathetic debauchery of a Toad's or Viva's to the enlightened tradition of a Mory's, it is manifest that we must take a moment to retreat and reflect on our choices. Has Yale become a school just like any other? Do the students of today merely treat their coursework as a "task" to be done, their education as an unwanted obstacle in the way of their weekend debauchery? Don't get me wrong, I believe that Yale students have always enjoyed good fun. But it seems that the students of today don't understand that education and tradition at Yale are intertwined, and that they both expand beyond the confines of the classroom. Attention Yale admissions office: Instead of accepting these material-obsessed students, driven since a young age to produce report-card results and nothing else, find the young students who actually have a passion for self-knowledge, deep reflection, and genuine engagement with the age-old academic tradition that is uniquely offered at Yale.

  • Grad 09'

    For those that haven't been, Mory's is a great place to get together with friends. The staff has always been friendly and attentive. Cups is a great tradition and something very unique special for Yalies. It is not hard to become a member and very inexpensive for students. The food is good, in my opinion, and only a few dollars more than Yorkside. What has killed Mory's is the backward alcohol laws created by Reagan. You should try it before you judge it.

  • the anonymous diner pundit

    Grad 09' -

    "the backward alcohol laws created by Reagan?"

    What does that mean?

  • James Clement van Pelt

    Let the word go forth that if a specified number of Yale community members (broadly defined) join by a specific date, Mory's will go on. Count me in; I was about to join anyway, and this would get me off the dime.

  • Anonymous

    I am a graduate student here and a member of Mory's. I have always loved going and every friend I have taken as agreed that it is a unique place and a fine establishment. Somewhere with a dress code should not be anathema. It would be a shame to see Mory's close.

  • Yale Prof

    As a Yale professor I often take visiting faculty to dinner. I would gladly take them to dinner at Mory's (and many ask to go there) except for one serious problem: the singing groups that inflict themselves on dinner guests. One or two songs would be very nice. Concerts that go on for up to 40 minutes are intrusive and make it impossible for dinner guests to enjoy the real purpose of a dinner -- each other's company. The many Yalies bemoaning the death of Mory's here should ask themselves whether they are willing to stand up to some of these obnoxious groups, and make it possible to got to dinner and have a conversation. If not, then Mory's will continue to see most Yale dinner business go to restaurants that respect their customer's wishes.

  • Sic transit….

    Having been a faculty member at Yale since the '60s, I have seen repeated attempts to "fix" Mory's as well as to save the defunct Faculty Club (yes, Professor Rarebit, we DID have a FC.. in the building that is now the Visitor Center.. it was killed by mis-management). These "campus institutions" including the 100+ year old Yale Coop, became dinosaurs that did not change with the times… but what can one expect with the leadership of the "old Blues"… Chris Getman and Cheever Tyler are nice guys, and maybe even savvy businessmen.. but modern, they ain't… They represent the Old Yale before "everything" that is recognizable to most of their potential customers.. the Yale student population and most faculty younger that I am: coeducation, jeans not jackets, and, as noted above, un-stewed vegetables, to mention just a few. Even in the '60s, Mory's had a "time-warp" atmosphere and the "gray and/or bald" count is so high that most students must wonder if they have wandered into an old folks home. Perhaps Mory's could become a very pricey senior alum club for people who like mushy food and no surprises. Or, perhaps more radically, start over with a new Board of Governors with no one over 35 allowed on the Board.

  • alum

    I love the tradition of Mory's, but as a capitalist, I get extremely frustrated at how poorly it is run as a business. The Yalie in me wants to see it stay around forever, but the business analyst in me thinks it should die, unless it is committed to a serious restructuring (a key component of which is GETTING RID of a unionized work force).

  • Getting Old

    Wow, I really am getting old.

    I *loved* the old Co-op (who ELSE would give me credit?).

    I *loved* the Doodle (where my 2 x cheeseburgers + orange juice would slide onto the counter just as I slid onto a seat).

    And, yes, I *loved* Mory's (charge those lunches!).

    Of course, I never liked Toad's, still prefer J. Press, and still miss Giamatti (no, not the actor, you fools!).

    And I even disdained when S&B went co-ed.

    Old Yale is almost gone now; glad that I got a little piece of it.

  • Anonymous

    How sad I was to read of this event, but it seems that trends and public taste are running against Mory's. I was a member when I was a student and joined again after I read about Mory's struggle. My hope is that there is some way to go forward. Some people have taken the chance to knock Mory's pretty hard here, but I think you are being a bit unfair.

    If Mory's is looked at from the prism of the "Yale experiance" then it does very well. Come on, I didn't eat there because I thought the food some rare treasure. I ate there because it gave me a direct connection to so many alumni at Yale. I used to imagine who sat at the tables I sat at. I used to wonder what conversations had been had at those tables.

    Mory's is a much a part of the Yale story as Gothic buildings, the tap system, and the college system.

    Further, it bothers me to see so many blast the "formal" nature of the club. Maybe all college students, of which I was one not long ago, want to dress up a little bit. Have you ever noticed that manners often decline as dress declines? Perhaps, the fact that we are a less formal society is a problem rather then a solution!

    Cheers and Christmas Blessings

    Yale MDiv 02

  • Alum

    The shared experience of Yale alumni is dwindling and now approaches merely a physical passing in and out of the several central buildings on campus -- and of course reading the YDN. But traditions have been discarded as stale or useless, without much consideration for their benefits.

  • Ferny Reyes

    Indeed, as a current student, it saddens me greatly that this is happening. We went to Mory's this previous Friday, and from the atmosphere, you couldn't tell that this terrible news was about to be announced.

    The food is good enough and the prices aren't extravegent. The atmosphere was always pleasant and the staff was ever accomodating.

    Tradition it was.

    As to the freshmen at the beginning who flashed their ignorance by claiming they hadn't even heard of Mory's:

    I've seen it often that freshmen don't know where things are. The labs, classrooms or even libraries. But they always know where Toad's is!

    If getting dressed up is the reason you don't want to go to Mory's, but you'll dress up like a common whore for Toads…

    I echo anonymous: if we wanted more pre-meds, what is this Yale I attend?

  • BK 05

    I love Mory's, was a member in school and I still am a member. Here are the issues with Mory's as I see it.

    1. Even as a member of Mory's, I went there pretty much only for Friday lunches and then with special big nights out with fraternity members or whatever. Its too impractical to eat multiple meals a week there with the dress code (dress code was kind of relaxed for lunch anyway). And the big reason to go there for dinners were cups. Cups are a Yale tradition, but laws require students basically drink them illegally until junior and senior year. Without cups, there isn't a reason for the average Yale student to visit regularly. Restaurants at all price ranges in new haven serve better food in a more casual atmosphere.

    2. Labor costs. Mory's employees are union career workers, which is fine if your restaurant is high volume enough. If you run a high end steakhouse in Manhattan, the old school union staff is great and can be covered by revenues. Same if you are running a restaurant in Las Vegas or something. However, for a restaurant in a college town with declining revenues, its an issue. I understand staffing Mory's with SoCo grad students may take away from the appeal, but if you have to do it to keep the place open, get it done.

    3. Membership policy. The membership policy was a red herring. Everyone gets membership if they want it and its cheap as a student. All guests can get it. The problem is that most people don't know this or understand it; Mory's doesnt promote itself to a big enough group of students. They need to improve marketing.

    A lot of the older alumni saying Mory's fall is a bad mark on the school, that the fact that Toads is still huge represents how Yale culture has changed for the worse - this is all rubbish. Classes, societies, colleges, etc are still thriving because they have adapted with the times. Mory's hasnt, but hopefully they can change it.

  • Anonymous

    “There is a perception that Mory’s is an elitist place, which it is not,” he said. “So we are going to try to get that message out to students the best way we can.”

    - Make undergrads - heck, make all students - members automatically. They can continue their membership, with the appropriate dues, once they graduate.

    "Plus, Smith added, Mory’s became less fashionable to students over time as Yale became a more diverse place."

    - Ah, so Mory's strategy was to oppose diversity in its membership?

    "Right now, Getman said, the club’s management is struggling to come up with ways to restore Mory’s to its former glory."

    - Well, you see that front room? The one that looks out onto York? PUT A BAR THERE.

    "“We’re at a loss right now,” he said. “We are hoping maybe some alumni may step forward and give us a cushion to start again."

    - Or: "We were unable to succeed in a business despite having a terrific asset as well as regular dues and a potential captive clientele of thousands. In order for us to struggle on to the next crisis, we require a large amount of free money. But we are bot guaranteeing any changes even if we get it."

  • Hieronymus

    to #26: too true.

    Today's Yalies--through a combination of PC indoctrination, liberal self-loathing, helicopter parenting, and coddling so over the top as to skew skew their frame of reference--have made Yale little more than the Stanford of the East; more brand than grand.

    Ah, Mory's: we hardly knew ye.

  • Recent Alum

    Bail out Mory's? Hilarious. Mory's had absolutely nothing to do with my Yale experience…just let it fail.

  • '12

    I think some of the negative Mory's comments are very unfair (and I actually find the food good and atmosphere nice). That said, I don't think the issue is that current students have forgotten about "tradition." Mory's has made NO real effort to reach out to the current undergraduate community; most students hardly know it exists, don't understand how it is possible to join, etc. The issue is not so much that current students don't care about "tradition" as that Mory's has forgotten that "links" work both ways and it cannot expect to survive when it does not advertise, reach out to students, hold special events, and make it really easy to join.

    I really hope that Mory's comes back and that it thrives, but in order for this to happen Mory's needs to establish itself as a pillar of the Yale tradition as opposed to a relic of an elitist past. In other words, Yale needs to make all current Yale students feel at home inside its walls. Despite my membership, I still don't feel like I'm part of the club…

    (one way that would really help is making it so that you merely need to show a Yale id. This would make Mory's a true Yale club for all bulldogs… or, alternatively, if Mory's is really struggling it could eliminate its private membership and allow discounts for Yale faculty, students, and alums)

  • Traditionalist '12

    The type of students Yale admits today are not the type to respect old time traditions. These liberals want to be progressive, hip, and trendy and are afraid that being associated with a "stuffy", "elitist" institution such as Mory's would detract from their image. It's sad that there are so few students left who are down-to-earth and "modernized" but can still take pride in Old Yale traditions without feeling elitist. As a student, I am often ashamed to be associated with the same type of people who have caused Mory's decay.

  • DoodleLover

    Mory's started out as a low-brow tavern. I suggest - and many old timers will frown here - that Mory's transform itself into a pub/restaurant open to the entire Yale community, with competitive pricing to boot. "Keeping Mory's Mory's" just doesn't make sense anymore.

    Someone also brings up a good point: not so many singing groups! Keep the Whiffenpoofs for tradition's sake but leave out the rest!

  • TrueBlue

    They should give the facility over to an owner/operator on a multi-year concession, and they should open Mory's up to not just Yalies, but friends of Yale.

    The reason why I stopped my membership was the inconsistency of the food. At times it, and the service was embarassing.

    Anyway, keep the tradition, keep the dress code, allow reservations by members only, -- and let someone profit by running the restaurant correctly!

    PS-- The biggest market for Mory's is visitors to Yale. Think of the extended lunch business they could do with the tens of thousands of people who come to New Haven annually.

  • SY93

    As a former student and member, I am echoing the overall sentiment of the constructive comments above (especially #32, '12) plus a few other ideas:

    1) Open the club to any current undergrad or grad student without a sponsoring member at a nominal fee (e.g. $50 total for entire 4 year enrollment).

    2) Relax the dress code. Establish a more relevant menu. Later hours. MAKE MORY'S MORE LIKE A PUB THAN A CLUB.
    Many of the pubs adjacent to Oxford and Cambridge universities are thriving, and there are loads of these. There's only one Mory's.

    3) Establish a Web presence and charge alumns a modest annual fee - $20-30 per year. Those of us who think we may come to town in the near future and/or have fond memories will renew regularly. It is lots easier to do this if we can quickly pay on-line.

  • Fred

    Nice to see Mory's go down the tubes; just another upper crust Yale institution that has nothing to do with better education, but simply perpetuates the "better than thou" attitude of Yale and all the Ivy League schools. About time those over inflated institutions begin to realize that the economy can actually effect them in a negative way, regardless of their great and wonderful status on this planet. Join the ranks of the real world Yalies!!

  • BK 05

    A few more comments…

    1) There is a model for a "traditional" club expanding its clientele and doing well; its the Yale Club of New York. What the Yale club does is aggressively market to graduating Yale seniors, design events (Thursday Happy Hours) that make students feel invited and comfortable, and flaunt the benefits of membership. They even tend to relax the dress code for happy hour nights, which are always packed (guess which nights are the most crowded; Mory's night). The club is successful; Mory's obviously is not.

    2) The transition to a pub makes sense. Last time I checked, Richters and other bars are still open. If you guys saw "The Skulls" movie, their version of Mory's was simply a big open pub / restaurant that also served cups. That would likely work. Maybe require coat and tie for certain rooms. The original Mory's never had a "dress code" - it was just that everyone wore blazers full time. As the college dress code relaxed, so should have Mory's.

    Some of the comments about Yale students being too "liberal" or not respecting traditional illustrate the type of thinking that lead to the demise of Mory's. With relatively minor changes across the years, Mory's could have continued to be relevant to undergrads. Instead, the place became a retreat against the modern aspects of the school. Too bad, because I loved the place.

    PS- As the poster mentioned above, the drinking age is a big part of the problem as well.

  • Concerned Yale Student

    In response to #26, #33, and others, you are wholly correct. I am a current Yale student and believe that the demise of Mory's is indicative of the general state of affairs of the student body, and this isn't getting enough attention. There is a crisis in American high schools (and American childhood, for that matter), and the Yale admissions office must recognize this and try their best to find the few remaining gems that exist.

    I repeat: The fact that places like Mory's and the Doodle suffer whilst Toad's thrives is a sad commentary on the contemporary student culture at Yale. Let the fingers be pointed at whomever -- perhaps Mory's and the Doodle didn't adequately 'change with the times' -- but it is ultimately the students themselves who have changed while the old institutions have remain true to their roots. Mory's, the Doodle: these were some of the few authentically "Yale" institutions left in New Haven. With the talented American college student increasingly preferring the apathetic debauchery of a Toad's or Viva's to the enlightened tradition of a Mory's, it is manifest that we must take a moment to retreat and reflect on our choices. Has Yale become a school just like any other? Do the students of today merely treat their coursework as a "task" to be done, their education as an unwanted obstacle in the way of their weekend debauchery? Don't get me wrong, I believe that Yale students have always enjoyed good fun. But it seems that the students of today don't understand that education and tradition at Yale are intertwined, and that they both expand beyond the confines of the classroom. Attention Yale admissions office: Instead of accepting these material-obsessed students, driven since a young age to produce report-card results and nothing else, find the young students who actually have a passion for self-knowledge, deep reflection, and genuine engagement with the age-old academic tradition that is uniquely offered at Yale.

    I plead institutions like the News to bring these issues to popular light.

  • 2010

    #3 nailed it. LET MORY'S DIE!

  • @Fred

    None of your business. Go away.

  • Y11

    Let's be very, very clear on something. Tolerance and tradition are NOT mutually exclusive. Cultural conservatism and social liberalism are NOT mutually exclusive. Yale 1908 and Yale 2008 are NOT mutually exclusive.

    This is not a political divide, nor a socioeconomic one. There are as many WASP legacies posting in support of Mory's here as there are liberals who are the first in their family to go to college. Almost everyone who goes there falls in love with the place, and if anything Mory's unites the very diverse student population at Yale in a way not many other groups or institutions can. Students that agree on NOTHING ELSE know the value of Friday lunches and a round of cups in the company of friends.

    To those of you who say Mory's should die for no other reason than because it's "elitist" and "uppercrust" and "a relic"… let it go. How can you hate a place SO MUCH that you've never even been inside? Okay, fine, don't march on Woodbridge and don't donate, but why be proactively down on the place? It just reeks of bitterness and resentment to do so. Those that have been there like it for a reason, and in spite of the mismanagement those people have a right to try and save it.

    Sure, there's a message here. It's meaningful that more of the student body goes to Toad's than Mory's, but try not to read into it TOO much. They serve very different purposes. You don't have to be a anti-intellectual "whore" to like Toad's, and you don't have to be a racist old guy to like Mory's. This is a popular place that holds a special place in Yale's history and, yes, present and future… and as such requires conservation.

    Forget passionate arguments about staving off anti-intellectualism or the changing student body. Drop the elitist debate altogether. These things come and go and will always do so.

    Mory's is a part of Yale. We like it. Save it. Period.

  • yale '08+1

    The problems facing Mory's have nothing to do with changing student attitudes or decline of the quality of Yale students.

    Toad's and Viva's are restaurants open to the public! People come from miles around New Haven to go to Toad's. Sure, plenty of Yalies do go there on occasion. But I doubt "weekend debauchery" is a new phenomena at Yale. I agree that America does have a "childhood problem": too much consumerism, pampering, and standardization and I don't know what else that lead to young people who do not discover themselves and contemplate life's big questions. HOWEVER, I think most Yalies do get to those places in their time at Yale. It's certainly a community of people finding and exploring their passions. Social life and extracurricular activities - aspects of community - play a large role in that exploration. But I do not accept the implication that "students of today treat their coursework as a "task" to be done, their education as an unwanted obstacle in the way of their weekend debauchery."

    Getting back to the issue at hand:
    For a few bucks more than an entree at Mory's, I can get an entree at The Union League. The food and service at The Union League is on a higher plane of existence than that at Mory's, even if the latter has a unique and appealing atmosphere and tradition. Why can't Mory's serve cheaper and better food?

    Puritanic alcohol laws are also a real problem. Just think what could happen to the local economy if the drinking age were lowered to 18.

  • Swift Kick

    Ah yes… the reason why an establishment with hit-or-miss food and service is in financial trouble during a rough economy is because those savages that pass for students these days have no respect for tradition and instead do the unthinkable and choose to ENJOY their time?! Scoundrels! How downright despicable of them!

    As the person above just stated, why would I be inclined to go to Mory's when I can get better food (and cheaper!) elsewhere? Tradition isn't enough.. traditions need to be based on some sort of positive experience. If we start a tradition today that involves getting a swift kick in the nuts every Wednesday morning, my guess is it wouldn't last very long since people tend not to like that sort of thing. On a good day, Mory's can be decent, but other times it's the culinary version of the swift kick in the nuts. I guess maybe the tradition needs to change a bit.

  • First, they came for Mory's

    DOWN with the Elizabethan Club!
    DOWN with Wolfshead!
    DOWN with the Ancient Company of College Printers!
    DOWN with the Dramat!

    Icky old elitist uppercrustian institutions, all; indeed, DOWN WITH YALE!

    No Mory's? Why, let them eat cake…

  • confused

    Y11 - "Tolerance and tradition are NOT mutually exclusive. Cultural conservatism and social liberalism are NOT mutually exclusive. Yale 1908 and Yale 2008 are NOT mutually exclusive."

    Why is this true? I'm having trouble swallowing these claims, because you don't make any argument.

  • Yalie of the 80s

    Yes, I had a great time at Mory's back in my day, in the early 80s. But it was also still legal for me to drink at age 18, as a freshman. That certainly helped Mory's. It was the songs and the "cups" at Mory's that were a blast. But, the food was HORRIBLE even then. It was a joke. The service was poor. I also remember people being asked to leave because of dress code violations. Without undergrads (generally) being able to drink at this institution, did the board think students would flock there for the food and service? I am amazed at how unconnected to the world the leaders of Mory's are. It seems that it has become almost totally irrelevant to the lives of students of today. It was hardly the center of my world, but it played a role. Now??? To jump in on the other comments, the Yale Co-Op was a great institution that closed because it didn't change. If Mory's doesn't liven it up a bit and adapt to a different world, then it will be gone too. Last point: If we are talking about wonderful, old Yale tradtions, then bring back Bladder Ball (look it up, folks!)

  • Eli '80s

    It seems there have been several very sound suggestions about how Mory's can survive and even thrive by serving the needs and tastes of current students and faculty while preserving and trading on tradition. And it's New Haven, folks; you've got pretty much a captive audience, unlike that place in Cambridge, where there are so many more options. Some current students may say Mory's is no longer relevant, but I know few students who could say they went to Yale without at least some tolerance, if not desire, to be part of the overall tradition and, yes, elitism of the place. And, in that respect, like some other commenters, I am troubled but not shocked that those who I've seen work hard there should be among the first to be expected to make sacrifices to support the continued patronage of Mory's relatively well-heeled clientele and landlord institution. I mean, slap yourself and take a look at that picture; I see a New Yorker cartoon in the making. As a Whiff alumnus, I certainly don't want to see the place close, either, but asking union workers to make concessions should be considered only after all other options are fully explored. This is not GM, despite attempts to draw the analogy.

  • traditionalist

    #44, thanks for your commentary. But if you're going to claim that the Mory's tradition is like a "kick in the balls" it probably wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. For many years Mory's has been, well, Mory's, and it's done just fine.

    What we have now is a convergence of a couple of things, but most importantly a failing economy and a changing student body. From what I've gathered (and you can see it in the comments) all types of Yalies today are set on tearing down anything they can label "elitist" or "WASPy" in this blind leap towards "making Yale a place for everyone." Well, news flash: you don't make Yale a place for everyone by calling people who are OK with wearing a blazer to dinner stuffy or stuck up. I don't know why it's hard to accept that some (gasp) sane people might enjoy a traditional atmosphere. And not all of them are named Rich Uncle Pennybags either.

    But to the point: the price of entrees at Mory's is well below anything at the Union League Cafe. Having been there many times over the past year I can't say I've ever had a bad experience with service or with the food - it's always been good. I think the real problem here is with student attitudes and I wish more people would give Mory's a chance before dismissing it as some evil, conservative institution. I haven't talked to anyone who has actually been there that didn't like it. So toss away your preconceived notions… give Mory's a shot (if it reopens)…

  • Observer

    So is Yale going to sign Texiera?

  • Light and Truth

    Evil Empire beat us to it!

  • @confused

    What, so you can't be gay or, from a more specific standpoint, Jewish, or support Civil Rights and Affirmative Action and also love Old Yale? You can't wear a blazer and respect tradition if you're a 21st century liberal? Do you mean to say you can't go to Mory's on Friday and Toad's on Saturday and like it?

    What argument does Y'11 even need to make? Isn't it self-evident? Isn't this what Yale is? An adapted, tweaked version of itself 100 years ago, combining the best of both worlds?

    And if these kids think tradition and tolerance are not mutually exclusive, why question them… much less challenge it? You seem to think it would be a bad thing if this were the situation. God forbid you have to stop hating Mory's and the like because it doesn't mean all the bad things you thought it did.

  • Calhoun 78

    Mory's was great in my day, and a part of the experience I expected when I came to a place so culturally different from my home as Yale and New England.

    But of course it must change as its market changes. There are lots of good suggestions above, though the age restriction on alcohol these days is certainly a big problem compared to my day.

    One observation-- I last ate there about five years ago with a college friend now in Yale's administration. The food was dreadful, just above inedible. I made the mental note then never to go back.

    A last observation about the above comments. It's pretty rich to read that Mory's is considered "elitist" by current undergrads. You would have to be deeply self-deceived to be a current undergrad and Yale and think you weren't part of an elite.

  • Haydon

    I have eaten at Mory's several times in the past few years, not by choice, but because I have been dragged there by faculty. The building is dingy and run down, the staff rude and incompetent, the menu antiquated and virtually bereft of nutrition, and the food itself hardly worth of giving to pigs as swill. It is, in all ways, a thoroughly third rate institution. Bulldog Burrito is a better place to eat. None of which is to say, of course, that many alumni and even current students do not have fond memories of camaraderie there and of taking part in various Yale "traditions." But let us not be fooled about it being a decent, let alone a pleasant, place to eat. It is little wonder that so few current students are prepared to support the place.

  • Elitist?

    Elitist? Mory's? HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Class of '10

    It's obviously because TRADITION is being replaced by GLAMOR at Yale. Where is the most glamorous college to attend on earth? Starts with a Y, ends with an E. Add some glamor to Mory's and then it will get some business.

    G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

  • A General Response:

    A set of wtf's all around

  • Class of '04

    With respect to those who make the point that Mory's has been serving up sub-par food and charging gourmet prices for it, this is hardly the point. We as students and alumni can sit back and analyze why Mory's is in its current state all we want, but the more important question is whether or not Mory's as an institution should have a place in the Yale of the future. My thoughts on this are that this place has served literally hundreds of Yale classes, offers a way to tie the together the experiences and memories of Yalies past and present, and is absolutely indispensable to Yale's unique identity as a University. To allow Mory's to die would be to give up a part of Yale that makes it what it is. That's not to say that throwing money at the issue would be an acceptable solution. A restructuring of Mory's is in order, changing it into a place that is both fun for students and dear to alumni. But to point fingers at Mory's quality and simply say, "no wonder" is not acceptable. Action should be taken to let the Yale administration know that, while Mory's quality has faltered as of lat, it is still an institution that is important to the community that should simply not be allowed to disappear.

  • TOAD'S IS GREAT

    Okay, the loss of Mory's is a tragedy, but I presume that some way itwill come back in some form. It is a Yale tradition and I doubt it will just die. I came for to Yale partially because of the tradition.

    Now: What is wrong with Toad's? I don't think anything. I go there almost every Wednesday night, when my schedule allows it on Saturdays, and have seen some musical acts perform there as well. I think Toad's is as much a tradition as most other things. If you speak with a lot of alumni, it is one place they remember and look fondly upon more than any other place. It is just yet another for people to come get together, jsut in a different atmosphere than Mory's. Don't look down upon it or the people who go there. Or at least try it a few times, as I am sure those who support Mory's would as well. Toad's has a unique feel, something that has propelled the owner to license its name to alumni that have opened branches in VA and NJ (I think). Every person likes there own styl; don't hate on people for that. That is the most close-minded thing I can think of.

    Morever, before I got to Yale, what was one of the places I as told to go to by an older family friend? That is right, Toad's. He told me it had some great music and intersting dancing. And you know what--he's right.

    This is coming from an undergrad who is both a Mory's member (and I think the food is good, but not great, compared to New Haven' great eateries-I normally am there for cups) as well as a Toad's regular.

  • Anonymous

    Forgive my Schadenfreude here, but for most of its history, Mory's explicitly excluded most of the Yale student body from membership in the club. As a graduate student at Yale in 80s, I was excluded from membership; I couldn't walk through the door unless accompanied by a member. Only in its latter days, when revenue was plummeting, did Mory's open up its membership to a wider Yale student and alumni audience. Too little, too late. I'm happy to see it go.

  • Herb

    Mory's need new leadership. Chris Getman has been on the Board for years. They need to bring in someone new to innovate the place. MOry's should not close…I along with all my classmates boycotted the club when Wayne was fired

  • Anonymous

    The first step here, Herb and everyone else, is to bring Wayne back. The place hasn't been the same since Mory's 'retired' him.

  • WayneMan

    Bring Wayne Back. A great man. A hockey fan. He made you feel like Mory's was your club. I don't think you can unring this bell. But it portended what went wrong.

  • Anonymous

    I find it ironic that we who attend one of the most elite universities in the world, with an annual college tuition that is more than the average family income in this country, single out Mory's as "elitist."

    Yale is an elite institution, and any club dedicated to serving its graduates will necessarily be filled with future and current elites. To pretend otherwise is foolish.

  • Charybdis

    Mory's was hit by a confluence of problems. I think their board leadership has been disfunctional for decades -- the board is basically divided between nice old alumni who wanted to "keep Mory's Mory's" but didn't have a lot of specific ideas except for not changing too much; and a cohort of humorless faculty/administrator types, many elected through the "mandatory female representation" clause in the bylaws, who were eager to stamp out anything that was too old-boy-network-redolent and who were particularly hostile to anything that seemed like undergraduates having fun. There was also no clarity about who Mory's audience was -- was it an orderly faculty lunch club, an alumni nostalgia playroom, or was it going to try actually to serve its undergraduate members? The menu was a holdover from the days when you didn't expect club food to be more than barely edible -- as long as the prime rib (and the drinks) were huge little else mattered. Mory's also had an incredibly expensive staff, a number of of whom (Tommy and Wayne excepted) were as much a part of the problem as the food. I think the recent financial downturn merely was the last straw.

    Reorganizing Mory's leadership is a start. I hope that the place will survive, but the new board will have major challenges ahead.

  • another townie

    Does anyone think it's time for Mory's to consider a new location? Maybe a return to Temple Street. That dear old Temple Bar. This is Mory's what, fourth location? "Mory's wouldn't be Mory's" without a move to newer and better digs now and then. I'm sure Yale could help find a suitable location near campus. Is the old Palace Theater still vacant? I'm sure someone from the School of Architecture could design something in that space.

    And it needs a bar. Anyone from the board saying "Mory's wouldn't be Mory's" when restoring (not adding) a bar needs to go away. Mory's was "that dear old Temple bar we loved so well." In it's current form Mory's isn't Mory's. It's been too long. A few decades too long. Put the bar back. If you could walk into Mory's without a reservation, sit at the bar and order lunch, there would be more business. Bar Specials? What about periodic "Doodle Days"? Once in a while serve lighter fair exclusively for the lunchtime patrons. Just follow the old Yankee Doodle menu. Not every day though. Those grilled donuts can kill you.

    Maybe relax the membership rules a little too. Bring it a little closer to it's origins. You don't have to let everyone in. Maybe target some of New Haven's older institutions for new blood. New Alliance Bank (formerly NH Savings). Institute Library. New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Those guys who are in charge of the green. etc

  • local alum

    how about seeking out "younger" local alums for members even if they are female! I graduated in the 80s and have worked in downtown NH for over 20 years and have never been approached for membership. go figure.

  • James Rose '68

    Bad food, bad service - indifferent, slow, arrogant unionized waiters; outmoded, absurd: goodbye to Mory's, preferably forever. Goodbye from the class of 1968. It was dreadful then and it has been ever since. The site would make a good parking lot for the dean of the graduate school to park his car. A wood-paneled room should be removed and reinstalled in the art museum. Boola-boo!