Posted on

Magdalena’s serves final customers

Magdalena’s serves final customers
Magdalena’s serves final customers
MagdalenaÂ’s server Candace Jarrell speaks with Anita Sturgeon of Salem and Sharon Nuss of Brownstown at about noon Monday, the last day of operations for the downtown Corydon restaurant. Photo by Ross Schulz (click for larger version)

After 20 years of calling downtown Corydon home, Magdalena’s Restaurant and Caf’ on the Square locked its doors for good Monday afternoon.
A steady stream of customers came in for lunch, some from out of town having no idea it was the restaurant’s last day of business, and others visited because they knew it would be the last time they could eat at Magdalena’s, at least at the downtown location.
Owners Peter and Jenny Rog have expressed interest in moving to a new location, yet to be determined but possibly out of the county.
Danny Dooley, hospitality management specialist and training and marketing associate at Magdalena’s, said the biggest shame is that folks who attend events on the square won’t be able to go to Magdalena’s for a meal.
Dooley has been employed at Magdalena’s for five years and won the Harrison County Frontline Star Award in 2009 for service to the community.
He said many visitors ate at the restaurant before or after shopping on the town square.
‘It’ll be a big adjustment for the town and county,’ Dooley said.
Dooley said there’s endless stories of couples who experienced their first date at the restaurant and then ended up marrying. Also, he said, many proposals have taken place at Magdalena’s.
‘This is where they come for those anniversaries,’ he said. ‘It became our theme, ‘memories served’.’
One such example of memories being served ‘ not from a married couple but from elderly twin sisters ‘ happened Monday with Dianne Guthrie and Donna DeLozier, who hold a special place in their hearts for Magdalena’s.
Guthrie, who lives in Owensboro, Ky., and DeLozier, from Cincinnati, meet in Corydon each year around their birthdays, Feb. 1.
‘We meet here and spend the weekend in Corydon,’ Guthrie said. ‘We always come here (Magdalena’s) once or twice during our stay.’
DeLozier said they had dinner at Magdalena’s Saturday and heard its last day would be Monday, so they decided to come back for lunch one last time.
‘It’s our favorite place to meet. We really like it here,’ DeLozier said of Corydon and Magdalena’s. ‘We’re going to miss it.’
Guthrie said their favorite server at the restaurant was Connie.
After their meal, the sisters separated and headed in opposite directions on Interstate 64. Before departing, they said they plan to be back in Corydon again for their next birthdays.
Another customer, Alice Hall of New Salisbury, said she will stay loyal to Magdalena’s and won’t patronize the new business that will take its place on the square.
‘I love Magdalena’s,’ she said. ‘I’m an avid Magdalena’s fan.’
Hall said now that the restaurant is closing, she and her husband don’t know where else to eat.
‘It’s bad,’ she said.
Hall said her husband, Gary, a truck driver, loved the coffee shop portion of the business.
A group of visitors from Ohio stopped to eat at Magdalena’s Monday for the first time and said everything on the menu looked good.
The proposed plan to replace Magdalena’s is a brewpub led by Nathan Blank, owner of Cellar on the Square, also in downtown Corydon.
While some patrons viewed the change as the Rogs were being forced out of their location, Michael Wiseman, vice president of the Kintner House Inc., which owns the two buildings where Magdalena’s Restaurant and Caf’ on the Square are located, said his company decided to terminate the Rogs’ lease about a year ago due to tax issues. At one time, Wiseman said, the Rogs owed at least $60,000.
‘It was a liability,’ Wiseman said.
The Rogs, who did not return phone calls for this story, initially were asked to vacate the property by the end of 2011.
‘But they wanted more time,’ Wiseman said. ‘So, we told them to take until Jan. 31.’
Blank and his investors are buying the property from the Kintner House group for his venture, which will have a family dining area on the ground floor with the main feature being brick-oven pizza along with calzones, burgers, strombolis, salads and sandwiches with a rotating specialty. He will also offer a vegetarian option.
The second level will have more of a pub atmosphere, he said, including a stage and a cigar room.
Blank’s goal, he said, with the restaurant is to drastically improve the local dining and entertainment scene, establish a profitable destination business, immediately create 15 to 20 jobs, expanding to 40 to 50 within four years, use locally produced raw materials and promote the ‘green’ movement.
If all things work according to plan, Blank said the business could be open as soon as late spring or early summer.
The property is located between Beaver and Chestnut streets on the south side of the historic square.
As for Magdalena’s, whether it finds another home or not, Monday marked the end of an era for the former downtown restaurant.
‘The town’s going to miss us,’ Karen Hall, its executive manager, said.