Dan + Laurie

We are...

Dan and Laurie Morton, and together we represent more than 25 years of commitment to the service industry. Like Hand + Foot, we are a balance of personalities practically designed for success. Laurie, a highly qualified bartender, is also a motivator, a teacher and an artist. Dan is a sommelier, an inventor, and a stickler for detail, who has managed service businesses at several levels.

Dan...

is a hometown boy. He was born in Corning and attended East High School. At the tender age of 15 he got his first service job, as a bellhop at the Radisson hotel. From there his resume travels block by block down Market Street—first at Aniello’s, then Ellis’ (currently Old World) and finally at the Market Street Brewing Company. Under Pelham and Theresa McClellan’s leadership, Dan’s love and passion for the details and intricacies of the service industry fully blossomed. After two years at Corning Community College, he moved to Orlando, where he lived for nine years. In Orlando, Dan worked in a broad range of restaurants and bars including: Caribbean, Italian, steak, and a southern-inspired gastropub (Ravenous Pig) with James Beard award-nominee chefs. His focus throughout these experiences was on the use of local, craft, and creative products and learning as much about them as possible in order to best serve his guests, as well as his future. He also managed a small local food market and wine bar during this time. He then moved on to a budding national restaurant chain, serving as assistant general manager of a unit grossing more than $1 million a year, and serving as the corporate beverage director—buying wine, spirits, and beers on the national level. At this job, Dan’s knowledge of restaurant finance was also shaped and he earned his Entry Level Sommelier certification from the Guild of Master Sommeliers. After meeting the future Mrs. Morton, Dan moved to New York City where he ran the private dining room in a large corporate bistro serving executives from companies like Deloitte and Goldman-Sachs. He also worked as a service captain for a Michelin-starred Austrian restaurant, owned and run by celebrity chefs Edi Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban. Most recently he worked as a manager for a new-American craft beer bar, whose owners, coincidentally, were originally from Elmira. Throughout his New York years, Dan also moonlighted as a manager for a small wine and craft spirits store, allowing him to stay current on trends in the wine and spirits business. All of these fantastic opportunities have not only educated Dan, but also inspired and informed the establishment he and Laurie will create.

Laurie...

is much smarter than Dan, in fact the smartest thing Dan ever did was marry her! She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of South Florida. Go bulls! After schooling she proceeded directly to New York City to pursue a career in dance, working with notable choreographers Sheila Barker and Frank Hatchett. What started as a financial necessity—working as a bartender—soon became her passion. Laurie worked as a lead bartender and trainer at Planet Hollywood Times Square, the busiest and most rigorously regimented bar in the world. She excelled and was chosen to lead a team sent to Las Vegas to open the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino there. After a death in the family, she returned to Florida where she continued to grow as a service professional. Laurie has worked with several leaders in the bartending community including Ricky Martinez and Justin McWilliams of Bar Stars (the company founded by the guy who taught Tom Cruise to bartend in the hit movie “Cocktail”). In Orlando, Laurie also supported Chef Kathleen Blake, Melissa Kelly’s protégé. After her return to New York City, Laurie worked with several notable chefs such as Christophe Bellanca and Erik Battes. Most recently she had served as lead bartender (and creator of regulars) at one of the city’s most popular live music venues. While Laurie has been developing her impressive knowledge of the bar business, she has also continued choreographing. Her skills as a choreographer will be extremely useful when it comes to managing and training the staff at Hand + Foot. If she can wrangle large groups of teenage girls into award-winning dance numbers, she might as well have a Masters in human resources, and her skill as a creator and innovator will shine on all aspects of the business.

Why Corning?

As a boy, Dan couldn’t get to the big city fast enough. As a man, he couldn’t wait to come home, couldn't wait to give back to a community which patiently shaped him, to honor a town of vibrant history and character by serving it the riches he has accumulated, and to add his small part to a growing group of young merchants on Market Street aiming for the future. Laurie certainly didn’t take much convincing to join the adventure; she fell in love with Corning on her first visit, a community with so much to offer and in such wondrous surroundings will do that to a person, and she has graciously offered to throw her considerable experience and passion into the lot. Adding a bit of kismet, the Mortons represent their customer base—the local and the out-of-towner—and their passion for welcoming both will be a hallmark of Hand + Foot.