Cal Morris ends run at Casey’s in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Cal Morris can put the pots and pans behind him, literally and figuratively. He sold Casey’s Bar & Grill to the owners of John Allison Public House.

A popular hangout in Greencastle is no more. Casey’s Bar & Grill came under the ownership of John and Ame Flannery on June 30. The building, inventory and two acres at 155 S. Antrim Way will be converted to John Allison Public House by fall as the couple vacates their current location at 104 E. Baltimore St.

Cal Morris, owner of Casey’s, ends his 23-year run in the restaurant business.

“It was time,” he said.

Morris, 67, purchased a small existing bar in 1992. He and his wife Elaine were discussing what to name it. Their 7-year-old son Casey chimed in.

“Dad, why don’t you call it Casey’s?”

“So we did,” said Morris. They opened June 19.

Coming off a career managing such companies as Baer Packing, Fresh Express (in which he had part ownership), and Taylor Farms,  Morris decided to venture out on his own. He saw the opportunity in Greencastle.

“I had a few bucks, so that’s what we did.”

He said Casey’s was initially “a little dive” at 1,300 square feet. In 1998 he expanded to 7,300 feet and added the restaurant. He offered a diverse menu, and both sections of the business drew white- and blue-collar customers, he said.

All went very well until the recession in 2007. Also more competition came along from other new restaurants in town. And Morris and Elaine weren’t able to travel as much as they preferred.

“I wasn’t actively seeking to sell, but John and Ame approached me about eighteen months ago,” he said.

The talks became more serious in March and the deal was sealed at the end of June. Morris said he tended to operate behind the scenes in his very fullfilling job, and had good staff.

“It was hard to tell them we were doing this,” he said.

The liquor license associated with Casey’s went along with the sale. John Flannery began remodeling the site the afternoon the paperwork was completed.

Morris, a Hagerstown, Md. resident, spent a few weeks wrapping up things at his haunt for the past two decades.

Along with making travel plans, he said he would “practice my golf more.”