Mory’s may reopen around the beginning of the fall 2009 semester, Mory’s Board of Governors President Christopher Getman ’64 said Wednesday.
At a Wednesday afternoon meeting of the Board of Governors, the Mory’s Business Operating Group — a subset of the board — proposed that the iconic eating club should restructure its business plan with the aim of opening its doors in time for the next academic year. Still, Getman said, a chance remains that the eating club will not reopen if the Yale-exclusive institution cannot raise enough money.
“I would hope that would not be the case,” Getman said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I’m optimistic that it won’t be. If we can’t get the support, then we won’t be able to do it.”
The board is soliciting estimates from contractors about how much money it would take to reopen Mory’s, Business Operating Group member Steven Blumenfeld ’11 said. Getman estimated the required funds at about a quarter of a million dollars.
Some of this money will come from the “Friends of Mory’s” fund, which sent letters out to Mory’s members over the Christmas holiday and early this month encouraging them to donate a minimum of $50. While Getman praised the effort of Friends of Mory’s, he said the club will have to find “two or three or four or five people with very deep pockets” who will donate the necessary money.
“That’s not going to come from the Friends of Mory’s,” he said, adding that he expects such donors to be forthcoming provided the Board presents them with a plan they think is going to work.
The presentation given to the board Wednesday by Board of Governors member Douglas Rae, a political science and management professor, included a financial analysis of Mory’s past business and projections of expected revenue taking into account the changes the board intends to implement, Blumenfeld said.
Still, the business plans have not been fully detailed, he added.
“There aren’t any specifics right now other than working more closely with both the undergraduate, graduate and professional school populations here at Yale,” Blumenfeld said.
Before reopening, Getman said Mory’s will have to undergo a number of structural renovations involving, among other things, the club’s electrical system, sprinklers and kitchen. Blumenfeld said the club also plans to build a bar.
Mory’s will also restructure its membership policy. Blumenfeld said the club is trying to implement a membership system similar to the one offered in November during the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project fast, in which students could sign up for a $10 membership and receive $10 credit to the club.
But in reality, Getman said, this system is unsustainable in the long term, given that Mory’s would lose money on every membership sold.
“We’re fine-tuning it,” Getman said.
The Board will also hire a new manager and a new chef. All management and staff have been let go, save for controller Robin Soltesz.
“Mory’s was never known for having a great cuisine, and nowadays in New Haven there is great competition,” Blumenfeld said. “We want a chef that will keep the traditional things that we have, like the Baker’s soup and rarebit, but we want to make sure this new menu is a lot more streamlined. We want Mory’s to have this classical American cuisine and do it right and do it really good.”
Larned Professor Emeritus of History and Yale historian Gaddis Smith ’54 GRD ’61 told the News in December that Mory’s started losing business when a number of good restaurants began to appear in New Haven.
In the period of closure, Blumenfeld said the board is working on creating a new Web site for Mory’s. Among other things, Blumenfeld said, the site will clear up misconceptions about the organization, such as its dress code — contrary to popular perceptions, a student can go to Mory’s wearing a nice pair of jeans and a collared shirt, instead of a jacket and tie.
Blumenfeld said there is also the possibility of hosting Mory’s-type events, including toastings, at other locations.
“Some people are waiting for the ‘for sale sign’ to go up, which is not going to happen,” Blumenfeld said.
That being said, the specific date for a Mory’s reopening remains undetermined.