New dining experience coming to Morris Inn

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Morris Inn

Morris Inn

For more than 50 years, the Morris Inn has served as the living room of the University of Notre Dame, where all members of the Notre Dame family and broader community are invited to a comfortable, welcome and connected environment. 

On Monday (Nov. 4), a five-month renovation project to expand the warmth of the hotel’s dining experiences will begin. Over the past several months, a team led by Micki Kidder, vice president for University Enterprises and Events, and Joe Kurth, senior director of the Morris Inn, reimagined the hotel’s restaurant spaces. 

“With our living room theme in hand, we arrived at a concept that celebrates a casual and warm shelter from the outside world — a place where the food is simple, bright, healthy and wholesome; the service is genuine, unpretentious and joyful; and the ambiance warms the soul,” Kidder said. 

Rohr’s will reopen in spring 2020, and will offer a modern tavern concept unique to Notre Dame and South Bend, taking cues from restaurants such as Chicago’s Swift and Sons and Pacific Standard Time and New York City’s Gramercy Tavern

“Whatever the occasion, we want our guests to walk into this space, exhale and drop their shoulders a bit,” Kidder said. “They will note an air of casualness and comfort, as well as refinement and excellence.”

The menu will reflect the mood of the room, honoring a few traditions and breaking new ground with current culinary trends and fresh vegetables.

“The idea is to appeal to guests who want the classics — steaks, fresh fish, flatbreads, pastas, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and martinis — yet offer healthier and more vibrant options to guests who are looking for a little something more,” Kurth said. 

In preparation for the renovation, Sorin’s will serve its last meal Sunday morning (Nov. 3), after the Virginia Tech football game, and the existing Rohr’s will close Nov. 24 (Sunday), following the last home game against Boston College.

Starting Nov. 25 (Monday), a lobby pop-up restaurant, Rohr’s Test Kitchen, will offer food and beverage service to ensure minimal impact to hotel guests and staff. Guests will help choose menu items for the new Rohr’s, and the first 50 guests dining at least once a month between December and March will be invited to the soft opening of the newly designed Rohr’s. 

The Smith Family Ballroom, private dining rooms (Hesburgh, Joyce and Carmichael) and Morris Inn kitchen will operate normally during the construction period. Special holiday events such as Morris Inn’s signature holiday buffets for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, afternoon tea, and its annual breakfast with Santa will be unaffected by the project. VenueND, in the University’s office of event management, will continue to book wedding receptions, meetings, conferences and special events as normal.