For over 40 years, restaurateur Ray Morris
served home-style meals in the relaxed Victorian
setting of Lillian’s Restaurant on Broadway
in downtown Saratoga Springs.
After four decades, Morris will leave the
demands of restaurant ownership and start a
new chapter in life beginning in 2016.
He said someone approached him to buy the
60-year-old, multi-story building.
“I have decided to sell 408 Broadway and will
be closing Lillian’s doors at the end of the year
after a New Year’s Eve farewell,” Morris said in
a statement issued in November.
Morris said he had mulled over the idea of
selling the building at some point, when the offer
presented itself. It was not an easy decision
to make, "but opportunities like this don't come
along every day."
The new owner of Lillian's has not been
Once the sale was confirmed, Morris said he
spoke with each of his employees and promised
to help them with future endeavors. He also
contacted customers who had booked events in
2016 to inform them of the news, and to suggest
alternative venues for their events.
Lillian's Restaurant has hosted the Saratoga
Springs Lions Club's weekly meetings for many
years, so he informed them that they would need
a new meeting venue for 2016.
Morris opened Lillian's in January of 1974,
naming it after Lillian Russell, an opera singer
who spent summers in Saratoga in the late
1800s. Lillian's has remained steadfast as
downtown struggled to survive economic ups
Morris was a founding member of the
Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau. He
served on its board, as well as the board of the
downtown Special Assessment District. He has
also been a longtime member of the Saratoga
County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown
He said these business groups have made
Saratoga a vibrant small town attractive to
tourists, event planners and families looking to
relocate. Their efforts have played a major role
in the city's many national awards including the
"Great American Main Street" and "Best New
York State Destination".
Morris said he takes pride in the mark he has
made on the city and the hundreds of young
people who worked their way through school
"It brings me great joy to see so many of my
15-year-old bussers get a degree to become
a doctor, lawyer or start their own business,"
he said. "I am often stopped on the street by
customers who say that Lillian's is where they
proposed to their wife, dined with their prom
date or celebrated all of their special family
He said watching Lillian's close will be difficult,
"but a wonderful new chapter" will open
for he and his family.
Lillian's will continue to redeem gift certificates
and accept reservations for holiday parties
as they prepare to close their doors. Party and
dinner reservations may be made by calling