Thursday, July 25, 2024
Home IL Places IL Venue Report Morrissey Hospitality and Uphoff Resorts Partner on Historic Wisconsin Dells Restaurant

Morrissey Hospitality and Uphoff Resorts Partner on Historic Wisconsin Dells Restaurant

A new period-themed destination with event space is coming next spring to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

By Todd R. Berger

7.9.24 Morrissey Hospitality partners with Uphoff Resort on The Original 1855 Dawn Manor Restaurant
Morrissey Hospitality and Uphoff Resorts will open The Original 1855 Dawn Manor Restaurant in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, shown here in a rendering. || Courtesy Morrissey Hospitality

Morrissey Hospitality of St. Paul, Minnesota, has formed a partnership with Uphoff Resorts of Chester, Virginia, for the full-service management of The Original 1855 Dawn Manor Restaurant in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Set to open next spring, Dawn Manor will be a historic period-themed destination restaurant, bar, speakeasy, and gift shop. This is Uphoff Resorts’ fifth project in Wisconsin Dells and Morrissey Hospitality’s first project in the city, as the company continues its growth strategy in the Midwest.

“Despite owning various business assets and restaurants across the country, this project is deeply personal to me,” says Steve Uphoff, CEO of Uphoff Resorts, in a prepared statement. “Our family has been in the Dells since 1873, for six generations, and I grew up across the street from Dawn Manor. I have fond memories of this historic, one-of-a-kind house, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share this very special place with the public. Morrissey is a highly capable and proven partner who has impressed us with their passion and commitment in bringing this project to life.”

Dawn Manor dates to 1855 and was first constructed by Capt. Abraham Vanderpoel, a friend of future President Abraham Lincoln’s and a signer of the Wisconsin Constitution. The house had various notable owners and prominent guests such as architect Frank Lloyd Wright, actor Agnes Moorehead, and industrialist Andrew Carnegie. In 1945, the house was purchased by well-known painter George Raab and his wife, Helen Raab, and it stayed in the family until 2017, when Uphoff purchased it from George Raab III, the great-grandson of Helen Raab. The meticulous reconstruction is now underway, using all the original exterior Potsdam Sandstone and many original materials including stained glass, the handmade oak grand staircase, hardware, fireplaces, and furniture. The house is being relocated, stone-by-stone, to the shores of Mirror Lake in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, just a few miles from its original site.

Uphoff Resorts’ re-creation of Dawn Manor will include over 12,000 square feet of gathering spaces across a three-story restaurant. The restaurant will feature seven historically accurate themed dining rooms with 249 seats. Each themed dining room will transport guests to different facets of 19th-century history, complete with antique furnishings and select original artwork from George Raab, whose work was in the original manor and is now part of the Uphoffs’ personal collection. A curated yet approachable all-day menu crafted by celebrated local chefs Justin Draper and Jayson Pettit will offer contemporary American cuisine with historical inspiration from the 1880s and creative flair. The menu, combined with an authentically uniformed staff of roaming musical and theatrical performers, will create a one-of-a-kind immersive dining experience for guests of all ages. The lower level will house a historical rendition of the infamous original 1930s Uphoff rotunda bar. This speakeasy-style bar will feature Prohibition-era cocktails, live entertainment, and a wine cave for private events in a sophisticated setting. A 2,000-square-foot raised patio deck overlooking Mirror Lake will have panoramic views of the Mirror Lake Dam, first built in 1860, five years after the completion of Dawn Manor. Additionally, a gift shop will offer period-themed souvenirs, gifts, and apparel.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Steve to bring The Original 1855 Dawn Manor Restaurant to life,” says Richard Dobransky, president of Morrissey Hospitality. “As history enthusiasts, we share Steve’s passion for creating a mid-19th-century dining experience in 2025. Our guests will enjoy innovative culinary offerings, exceptional service, and a truly memorable experience.”

Morrissey is engaged for its full suite of services, including concepting, interior design, menu development, branding, marketing, and full operations management. Additional collaborations with Uphoff Resorts are currently in the works. As Morrissey Hospitality commemorates its 30th year in business, the company looks forward to further expanding its client base in Wisconsin and the surrounding Midwestern states.