The Manor catering hall and restaurant opened for the first time on New Year’s Eve in 1956, and on July 5, the three-generation family-run business will close its doors for good.
“After an immensity of difficult deliberation, it saddens us greatly to announce that this era of The Manor’s operation will be coming to an end,” reads a post on the wedding venue’s website. “The Manor will be closing its doors after July 5, 2023, ceasing all public and private events.”
COVID, inflation and other “unforeseen circumstances” related and unrelated to the pandemic played a part in the closing, said Keith Sly, communications director for the facility.
The restaurant and catering hall, with its beautiful lawns, landscaping and gardens made for the perfect background for wedding photos, has done the “painful work” of notifying its couples, families and clients who had planned to hold their events at 111 Prospect Ave. , Sly said. Employees have also been notified.
Couples and clients who had events scheduled after the July closing date have been contacted and returned refunds, Sly said.
The 66-year-old catering hall hosted hundreds of couples who held their weddings and receptions as well as many other celebrations and special events. In April 1975 The Manor was the location of a $100-a-plate champagne brunch by then governor of California Ronald Reagan, who was running for president.
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The restaurant will accommodate events scheduled prior to the closing date.
“We have not come to this conclusion lightly, but are resolved that it is the right and necessary decision. Often choices seem clear and easy from a distance, but when facing undeniable details, hard choices must be made. It is not for lack of want or effort,” reads the post signed by the Knowles Family.
“Through the pandemic, through the discontinuation of our buffet, our à la carte dining, and Le Dome, it’s been even more present in our minds,” the post reads.
The Knowles family, which still runs the restaurant and business, has not yet decided what will happen to the buildings and properties, Sly said.
“The future of The Manor has not yet been determined, though, as a building, The Manor has had a full life even before our ownership and we expect that new opportunities will arise in whatever format it may take,” the website post reads.
The Manor was founded by the late Harry Knowles in 1956. It began with the purchase of a three-room restaurant on the property called The Moresque. Slowly, Knowles expanded it over the next 30 years, Sly said.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: The Manor in West Orange NJ closing after 66 years