• Lifestyles

Morrissey’s Roadhouse set to open next spring

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

The owner of Morrissey’s Roadhouse, Ralph Morrissey with restaurant Manager Susan Lennon are in the process of opening the new eatery in what was the “Cuckoo’s Nest” on Rt. 590 in Lackawaxen. Lifestyles photo by Katie Collins.

By Katie Collins lifesnews51@gmail.com Follow Katie @Lifestyles51

LACKAWAXEN - Morrissey’s Roadhouse is slated to open in a landmark location next spring. Owner and visionary Ralph Morrissey has many plans in mind, for the eatery once known as the “Cuckoo’s Nest” on Rt. 590 in Lackawaxen. Morrissey said the restaurant will serve locally sourced meats and vegetables, and be a place where the locals will go before or after work.

Now a resident in Lake Ariel, Morrissey comes to the area from New Jersey after falling in love with Pennsylvania and discovering Lake Wallenpaupack. When he first set foot in the building, Morrissey said the “charm” grabbed him, along with the décor and location. Since word spread and a banner was placed outside, people have been stopping daily to learn what’s in store for the historic eatery.

“Fresh” foods

Morrissey said he is focusing on “fresh” foods because aside from tasting better, he hopes to keep the business local since its “good for the community” and he likes to know the people he’s working with.

Already a businessman, Morrissey opened Morrissey’s Moving and Storage in Bayonne, New Jersey in 2000 and because of the many logistics of the job, he believes there isn’t a harder business to manage. Morrissey decided to try this new industry though, because he likes challenges and was told there isn’t a restaurant like it, in the area.

Although still in the process of hiring, Morrissey and restaurant Manager Susan Lennon have been developing the menu. Together, the duo anticipates offering traditional roadhouse foods, as well as meals that people can’t find anywhere else because of the “family recipes” Lennon said.

Ready for hard work

A veteran from the 101st Airborne Assault Division, Morrissey said he’s used to hard work and he’s ready for the restaurant industry because he “needs something to do.” The roadhouse, he thinks will offer him that, as he works with Lennon to “create” something new.

Prior to looking at restaurant properties, Morrissey had never heard of the Cuckoo’s Nest and now, aware of the eatery’s history he plans on recognizing it by displaying old photos on the tables and so, he would like to borrow photos to create collages on tables.

Loves the industry

As for Lennon, she grew up in the restaurant business, where she’s held every job that makes an eatery function and she has opened two of her own restaurants. When she saw something happening at the building, Lennon said she walked right in and together she and Morrissey clicked.

Lennon said this new venture is “exciting” because while she “loves” the restaurant industry, she will learn about business by working with Morrissey. It’s the people, the excitement and the pace that Lennon likes, with the feedback from patrons being “rewarding” when they’re pleased because “when you please people, it’s in your heart.”

Getting started

Morrissey said he knows getting the restaurant up and running will be a task, but with the help of Lennon he feels they will succeed. To start, the team has been on their hands and knees removing grease left in the kitchen because “the kitchen has to be immaculate, not clean, it has to be immaculate” he said.

As of yet, the team isn’t sure how many employees there will be, but Morrissey did say there will be enough “to get the job done” since the roadhouse will serve breakfast too. He would like to be open early for people to get coffee and read the newspaper before work. Morrissey is considering it all, because “If you’re going to do something, do it all the way” he said.

Currently, Morrissey is leasing the property, but if he decides to buy it, all he has to do is sign his name he said. Once confident that he made the “right choice” in the business, he can buy immediately.

Touching up

While the interior will receive a new color paint, the bar will remain a staple to the room because the “little discrepancies and blemishes” are a part of the business Morrissey said. As for the exterior, the yellowish colored siding will be replaced with the wooden paneling that covers a lot of the building. Considering his ideas and what has been done thus far, Morrissey said he sees it all coming together.

Although there has been a lot of excitement with the news of the restaurant opening, there have been questions about the change of name. To that, Morrissey said “change is good” because he did not create the Cuckoo’s Nest and while it’s important to appreciate the past, people must live in the present. Morrissey recognizes the restaurant’s history and the memories people have, but he and Lennon will do their best so customers enjoy Morrissey’s Roadhouse where there will be catering, live entertainment, karaoke and more at the family restaurant that welcomes all.

Maintaining the theme

While he does come to the region from New Jersey, Morrissey’s Roadhouse won’t reflect that. Instead, Morrissey plans on a “country motif” he said, with traditional components of a bar to include entertainment, a pool table and lots of neon beer signs and brightly colored doors.

Although not opening till spring, Morrissey said there are reasons for the delay that include waiting for a liquor license, inspections and more because “it’s a very long process.” But even so, as a person who isn’t one for “instant gratification,” he wants people to enjoy themselves and have a good meal. Lennon added that, they want the staff to be trained and the customers to be happy.

Recognizing the history

If interested in sharing old photos for the collages, there is a mailbox across the street from the entrance or, call Morrissey at (973) 277-0186.

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