ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Willy's gets new owners

Three Californians with ties to this area have purchased longtime Dilworth business landmark Willy's Bar and Caf?. Elie and Scott Morrissy are retired air traffic controllers. Rex Wheeler is a master plumber. The new owners have made some subtle ...

Willy's Restaurant
Willy's Restaurant in Dilworth is operated by new owners Elie and Scott Morrissy, in front, and Rex Wheeler, behind the bar. The business dates back to 1931. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Three Californians with ties to this area have purchased longtime Dilworth business landmark Willy's Bar and Café.

Elie and Scott Morrissy are retired air traffic controllers. Rex Wheeler is a master plumber.

The new owners have made some subtle changes, including a new logo and a few menu and drink additions.

"We haven't messed with success. We've made adjustments rather than major changes," said Elie Morrissy, who will manage the business.

"Everybody asks us if our liver and onions is still on the menu and the answer is, 'yes,' " she said, referring to the traditional Willy's favorite.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kevin Hieb has been head cook at Willy's for 18 years.

He said the most popular items on the menus are ribs, spaghetti and Willy's steak.

The restaurant opened in 1931 as the Dilworth Café and later became known as Savards.

C.K. (Cully) Berquam purchased the business in 1957 and changed the name to Cully's Café and Bar.

Willard Rice bought the establishment in 1976 and renamed it Willy's Café and Bar.

The most recent owners were Orv and Emma Hieb, who purchased the business from Rice in 2003.

Native Californians Scott Morrissy and Wheeler are cousins whose mothers grew up in Foxhome, Minn.

"We've had this idea for about 30 years of opening a restaurant of some kind," Morrissy said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"This is a perfect atmosphere for everything. We jumped into it," Wheeler said.

Plans are to carry forward the railroad theme that Dilworth is known for.

"The logo has the train on it," said Wheeler, who also works as a material handler at DMI in West Fargo.

Scott Morrissy works at Lowe's in Fargo as an in-store merchandiser.

The restaurant employs about 15 people. Business hours are from 4 p.m. to closing, seven days a week.

The kitchen is open until 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Karoake night is Saturday after 10 p.m. "That's a big draw for us now," Wheeler said.

To contact Willy's, call (218) 287-2521.

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502

Related Topics: FOOD
What To Read Next
Fred Fancher also survived North Dakota’s deadliest blizzard, wrote the state constitution, and became a multimillionaire businessman.
The newest arrivals in the Fargo area
With its soft and gooey center surrounded by a crisp exterior, kladdkaka is the perfect cross between a brownie and a molten lava cake.
"It’s easy to make assumptions about a person based on their outfit or their day job," Coming Home columnist Jessie Veeder writes. "I mean, my dad used to work in a bank and he also broke horses and played in a bar band at night."