By Jann Wiswall
Tips Up Restaurant is closing after 36 years and it’s the end of an era, to be sure.
For owner Judy Roush, though, it’s also the start of her retirement, and for that she is grateful.
“I’ve worked hard all my life, putting in 60-hour weeks at the restaurant. This business is very rewarding, but it also can be tiring,” she said. “I plan to take the next years to enjoy life and relax a little.
It all started in 1980 when Judy and Ken Roush purchased the former Herbie’s Derby at 32 Washington Street in Ellicottville. At the time, there were only a few other restaurants in the area – The Depot, the Silver Fox, the Birdwalk, and the former Crystal Palace and The Barn.
At first they created a tavern-style restaurant that catered to a wide assortment of folks – from factory workers to office types to skiers and tourists.
Over the years, the restaurant changed with the times and the needs of the Roush’s. In 1985, after their first child (a daughter) was born (son Anton came along the next year), they decided to eliminate lunch and focus only on dinner. The menu became more ambitious – with more salads, seafood and weekly specials. Extensive renovations were made in 1990, 2006 and again in 2013.
In 2013, Ken retired and son Anton took over as head chef, with additional responsibilities for the front of the house. They opened for breakfast. They made some more exterior renovations. The menu expanded. Business was good. But now, Anton has decided to move to Colorado and rather than go through another major chef and staff transition, Judy decided it’s time to retire.
“It’s been a very difficult decision,” she said. “We have one employee who has been with us for 31 years, and two others who’ve been here for more than 20. One will retire, but the rest will be looking for new jobs. They’re the people I care most about. I’ll do everything I can to help them land somewhere else.”
Of course, closing a business takes time so Judy and her accountant have plenty of work to do for the next few months. But, she said, “I’m looking forward to being able to accept dinner invitations, and attend some of Ellicottville’s events as a guest, and take a Saturday off!”
As for the building on prime Ellicottville real estate that Judy and former husband Ken own, “we’ll probably be looking to lease it,” Judy said. “It’s a great location.”
“This is such a bittersweet time,” Judy added. “Being a part of the Ellicottville business community for so many years has brought so much joy to me and my family.”