SARANAC LAKE - Bryan Morgan hasn't wasted any time getting back into the local restaurant businesses.
Just weeks after closing Casa Del Sol due to bankruptcy, he has taken over management of Edgewater Wood-Fired Pizza at the corner of Broadway and Dorsey Street . He plans to reopen it Friday as Dew Drop's Grille and Pizzeria.
He told the Enterprise Tuesday that his decision to launch another restaurant was part timing, part location and part family history. The building that housed Edgewater pizza since May is owned by his brother, Terry Morgan of Lake Placid. It had previously been home to another Morgan family restaurant, Morgan's 11, until that closed a few years ago. It's across the Saranac River from the original Dew Drop Inn, which was run for 42 years by their parents, Forrest "Dew Drop" Morgan, who died in November, and Sheila Morgan, who died in 1988.
Bryan Morgan stands in front of the wood-fired pizza oven inside the new Dew Drop’s Grille and Pizzeria, formerly Edgewater Wood-Fired Pizza, at the corner of Broadway and Dorsey Street in Saranac Lake, which Morgan plans to open Friday.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
"I didn't know this was going to happen," Bryan said. "I had intentions of trying to do a Casa concept in Lake Placid, but my brother Terry called me up, told me how he was sorry about me having to close Casa, and then he told me he might have another opportunity for me."
Bryan said Terry told him that Jack Decker, the owner of Edgewater pizza, wanted to get out of the business. Terry suggested Bryan take over the operation.
"I got off the phone with him and thought about it, and I'm like, 'Wow,'" Bryan said. "My father, Dew Drop, just passing away. How many people over the years have said, 'God, I wished the Dew Drop Inn would come back." I woke up in the middle of the night, I kid you not, and I said, 'Dew Drop's Grille and Pizzeria.'"
Since then, Bryan said he and a crew of workers have been putting in 18 hour days to get the restaurant ready to open. He said he's rehiring the same staff from Casa to work at the new Dew Drop's, which he said will be a "service-oriented restaurant with awesome-quality food."
The menu for the new Dew Drop's will be limited at first but is expected to grow over time. It will feature wood-fired pizza recipes like those from Morgan's 11, which Bryan called "some of the best wood-burning pizza I've ever eaten in my life." It will also include favorites from the Dew Drop Inn's menu like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and French fries, specialty burgers, sandwiches, and a selection of Mexican entrees from the Casa menu.
The name of the restaurant is a tribute to his parents, Bryan said, recalling summers spent working at the Dew Drop Inn.
"It's the memories we all had as children working over there," he said. "Our parents probably got away with breaking child labor (laws) because there were so many of us. In the summertime, that's what we did - wash dishes, make salads. This is what we do. This is definitely a salute to my parents, and it gives me another wonderful opportunity."
Morgan said he plans to adorn the walls of the restaurant with photos and memorabilia from his parents, as well as Olympic memorabilia from his family, which has had a long connection with the sports of bobsledding and luge. In the spring, he plans to enclose the restaurant's back deck so it can be used year-round. The lower level of the restaurant will become a private party dining area, he said.
Dew Drop's Grille and Pizzeria will serve dinner six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday. Lunch will be served five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday. When the business opens on Friday, it will be able to serve beer and wine, but its liquor license has yet to be approved, Morgan said.
Casa Del Sol, located on Lake Flower Avenue, closed in December as it was facing more than $650,000 in debt. Morgan, who bought the business in 2008, blamed his financial troubles on overpaying for the restaurant and a sluggish economy. He initially filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, which requires debtors to repay a portion of debt and would have allowed him to keep Casa running, but later filed for Chapter 7 protection, which typically wipes out most debts.