The main dining room of Mory’s erupted with the sounds of boisterous harmonized singing Wednesday night: The Whiffenpoofs were once again “to the tables down at Mory’s,” as if nothing had changed.
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“This is the first cup at Mory’s that has been finished since Mory’s reopened, I think,” said Whiffenpoof Evan Gogel ’10, who downed the last drops of a traditional Mory’s cup. (“For the record, it was,” Mory’s Council President Christopher Getman ’64 confirmed.)
Mory’s closed in December 2008 with a falling endowment and insufficient revenue. The club then raised $3.5 million through solicited donations and creative fundraisers, such as selling the naming rights to Mory’s furniture.
About $3 million of the funds were used for the extensive building renovations, which included adding a bar near the back of the restaurant and an outdoor seating area, among other features. During its closure, Mory’s also lowered the cost of membership and revamped its menu. One of the goals of the renovation was to create an environment that would draw current Yale students, Getman has said.
On Wednesday, about 220 people turned out for what was more than just any old night at the famed Yale club for the Whiffenpoofs: The 2010 Whiffs had yet to sing in the restaurant, where the a cappella group has traditionally performed weekly since its founding in 1909. And they were just in time, having returned from a three-month world tour that day and poised to pass the torch to the class of 2011.
Former Timothy Dwight College Master Robert Thompson ’55 GRD ’65 sat at Getman’s table Wednesday night. Seizing on a newly implemented less formal dress code, Thompson forewent a jacket and tie in favor of a yellow polo shirt.
“I’ve never seen this place as intensely animated like this tonight since 1955,” he said. “They brought it back.”
A few undergraduates lingered around the bar. Paul Holmes ’12 said he decided to attend after running into a Whiffenpoof at the post office.
Steven Blumenfeld ’11, a member of the Mory’s Council, said the new Mory’s feels more undergraduate-friendly than its stuffier predecessor. (Blumenfeld wore shorts and was not “being shooed out,” he remarked.)
“I’m here at my college bar, and it’s great,” he said.
The menu for the night featured filet mignon, Caesar salad and calamari, as well as Mory’s standards, including rarebit and Baker Soup. Mory’s restaurant operator Ben Bloom, owner of La Cuisine, a Branford, Conn.,-based cafe, market and catering company, described the new fare as “lighter.”
“There are no cans in the building,” he said.
In the kitchen, chef Sean Taylor, who recently moved back to Connecticut from North Carolina, seasoned raw salmon and tuna, while a pot of Baker Soup, made with chicken stock, madras curry and tomato, heated up on the stove.
“Probably back in the day they used to microwave it,” he said.
Mory’s had its first full day of business Thursday, when it was open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will begin serving breakfast Sept. 13.