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Who’s Behind the Counter: Robert Morsberger at Morsberger’s Tavern

The oldest, surviving, family-owned business in Catonsville

Catonsville Patch:  How long have you been in business in Catonsville?

Bob Morsberger: Our family’s first business was Duffy’s Restaurant in Irvington.  My great grandfather bought that back in the 1880s.  So, before it was Duffy’s, it was Morsberger’s. Eventually my grandfather sold that so he could buy the old Catonsville Railroad Hotel at the end of the short line.  Then he sold that property in 1922 to the Catonsville Fire Department, and he bought a two-story house here at 713 Frederick Road.  He tore that down to build the bar, and we rented out next door to Read’s Drug Store.  During prohibition, we had a speakeasy next door, underneath the drug store.

Patch:  Why did your grandfather choose Catonsville? 

Morsberger:  My grandfather had come from Germany, and he eventually bought a farm on Hilton Avenue and that’s where he bred and raised race horses.

Patch:  What do you like about being in Catonsville?

Morsberger:  Everything’s so close.  Everything’s right here.

Patch:  What services do you do?

Morsberger:  We’re a traditional bar, but we also have live music and karaoke.

Patch:  What’s a typical day like?

Morsberger:  I get up at 5:30 every morning and come up to the bar.  I do the paper work and get the orders straightened out.  Then we open at 11:00 weekdays and 8:00 on the weekends.  I used to tend bar for about 35 years; now I just fill in if I have to.

Patch:  Do you ever take a vacation?

Morsberger:  I go to Ocean City now and then.  I always look forward to that.

Patch:  What is your busiest time of year?

Morsberger:  Holidays are our busiest time.  Other than that, it goes up and down.

Patch:  Do you have a signature service or specialty thing you do?

Morsberger:  We just have your regular drinks.  We cook food now and then; we have a restaurant license.  When we do our expansion, we’ll do more with food.

Patch:  Tell us about the expansion.

Morsberger:  We’re planning on expanding next door.  We’ll have more space, more room for food and for live music and a DJ.

Patch:  What are you proud of?

Morsberger:  Morsberger’s is the oldest tavern around and we’ve kept it going. 

Patch:  What’s your favorite thing about your work?

Morsberger:  Every day is different but everybody has their routines and it all works.  It all works good.

Patch:  Do you have any specials or loyalty programs for customers?

Morsberger:  We have tons of regulars, loyal customers.  We have food for them now and then.  We have happy hour prices.

Patch:  What is one thing you think is needed in the business community?

Morsberger:  A place to dance.  We’re planning on having that next door.

Patch:  What's the best piece of advice that someone has given you when it comes to running a business? 

Morsberger:  Brush your teeth, wash your face, comb your hair, and rise and shine.  Every day.

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