From the distinct smell of cedar to the charming and memorable atmosphere, Crowley's Restaurant & Lounge had long been a staple in our city's southwest side. And thanks to Erie natives Justin and Jessica Herring, that legacy lives on as the newly rebranded Madeline's Dining & Events.
Named after their daughter, Madeline's plans to open within the month. We've had the pleasure of representing them during this process and were able to sneak in a few questions of our own as they prepare for their soft opening.
EBL: How did all of this come about—buying and opening a restaurant?
Justin: My wife used to work at this restaurant in high school. She wanted to buy it if it ever went up for sale, and it did. We are transforming it from a very large restaurant to an event venue that also is a restaurant.
EBL: What do you remember/cherish the most about working at the restaurant in high school? Any vivid stories or memories?
Jessica: I worked at Crowley's in 1997. One of my fondest memories was the smell of cedar when first walking through the front door. Over twenty years later and it's still there! It brings back so many memories. Back then the restaurant was always busy, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. Nowhere else could you experience such a charming atmosphere in such a quiet and isolated location. Whether you wanted a casual dinner or an elegant night out, it was the place to be. I look forward to that once again.
EBL: What atmosphere are you trying to create in this space?
Jessica: We are trying to create a warm and unique space, one that suits the property itself. This building is historic to the area so we definitely have a desire to preserve some of that history. We modernized it, polished it up and brought it back to life. The wooden floor and walls, the ambience of the lighting and the scenic views give it a rustic yet elegant feel. It's a comfortable space to enjoy a meal or the company of family and friends, whilst also providing a unique platform to personalize parties and events.
EBL: What did you do before opening this business?
Justin: I am a CPA and my wife is an Anti Money Laundering Analyst. We are still keeping our old jobs and just managing the board for the restaurant.
EBL: What is most interesting/exciting to you about opening this restaurant?
Justin: Starting a new business if very interesting and difficult. Owner an historical restaurant on a beautiful piece of properly is very exciting. Also transforming it from what people are used to is also exciting and scary.
EBL: Why did you choose to open a business in Erie?
Justin: We are from Erie and we want to move back to the area at some point. We love growing up in the area and we want our kids to move there. We still live outside of DC so we try to come home at least once a month. We both have very flexible jobs so we are able to make the trip often.
EBL: What do you love about Erie? Why do you visit so often and what do you do while here?
Jessica: We were both born and raised in Erie. We visit pretty often, despite the drive, as most of our family and friends still reside here. After experiencing the fast-paced life of Pittsburgh, New York City and Washington, DC, we have come to appreciate the familiarity and peacefulness of this area. Since having children our priorities have certainly changed. Time and family is what we cherish most and moving back is something we are considering. While I haven't missed Erie winters, nothing beats Erie summers!
EBL: How has Rust Belt Law helped you throughout this process?
Justin: Adam was very helpful throughout the process. We had to jump through a lot of hurdles while buying Madeline's and he was very honest and straightforward with us. He was also very reasonable with his prices and I didn't feel like he was trying to get rich off of us.
EBL: We're excited to see the restaurant's transformation and we can't wait to celebrate its success! For more information about Rust Belt Law or how we could solve your business's legal matters, contact us here.