Corydon Times
Last Updated: Jul 7th, 2015 - 11:47:26

Connie Moore of The Lodge Twisted keeps on cooking
By Jason W. Selby
Jan 20, 2014, 09:44

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A metal sign fashioned by Dan Carpenter for The Lodge Twisted. Above it are photos of Connie Moore’s grandchildren. Photo by Jason Selby
Connie Moore, owner of the Corydon restaurant The Lodge Twisted, saw a story on a Facebook post, and it caught her fancy. A man, Scott Sonnon, recounts witnessing a few people purchase suspended coffees at a café. He asked his friend what this was about. The friend told him to wait and see. Then a man dressed in shabby clothes walked in and asked if the restaurant had any suspended coffee.

The concept is simple. You buy a drink or a meal, and at the same time place a suspended order. The less fortunate can then eat or drink, at a later date, the order you placed for them.

According to Sonnon, the practice began in Naples, Italy and has spread all over the world. Moore is more realistic in her goals, and hopes to help her neighbors in Corydon. She graduated from Wayne Community High School in 1977, and has lived in Wayne County her entire life.

“The way that I run this place,” Moore says of The Lodge Twisted, “is that I want it to be a fun place. A place that people want to come because they feel welcome here. I’ve always worked for the community. I worked for Head Start for 34 years, so I know a lot of the families here. I’ve lived here all my life. I never left, and I don’t regret it.

“So I understand how it is for families that are down. I also understand it’s not always the lowest poverty citizens that need help. A lot of times, it’s the middle class folks that don’t get the help. Especially at this time of year, it’s hard to make ends meet, and have food. I know a lot of families that do without for themselves so that their children can eat. I want to pay it forward to the community. I know how it is to be out there, alone, and I don’t want people to feel that way. I want them to come in here and have something to eat if they’re hungry. Nobody’s going to look down on them, or think anything less of them for it.”

Moore knows what it’s like to be disadvantaged by circumstances beyond her control. Her husband was badly injured and the family had to place him in a care center, where he has lived now for 10 years.

“And people have been warm and receiving of me. That’s why I want to give it back. I want the kids to know that there’s more to hometowns than just moving away. There are things that are good. There’s a reason to stay here. And we’ve got a healthy community.

“I think it’s coming back. I think a lot of the kids that have left are coming back.”

Moore believes in the power of small gestures.

“It’s what I grew up in—giving it back,” Moore says of the suspended meal program. “I feel in this small way, the community at-large can help the community of the less fortunate. I hadn’t posted it for 24 hours, and Dusty Hysell came in and put soups on suspension. A man heard me talking to another customer about it, and he said he wanted to buy another soup, right now. And [the people who buy food for others], it’s not like they’ve got a lot of money to throw around.”

Moore started working at the Head Start in Allerton when she was 19 years old. Eventually, she became a nutritionist for Head Start, serving Wayne and surrounding counties, Lucas, Monroe, Clark and Decatur.

“You’re not going to talk to too many people around here who haven’t ate somewhere that I’ve cooked.

“Some of the college kids that come back here, they call me Connie the Cook, because that’s what they knew me as in Head Start. A lot of my patrons are the kids that I fed in school. I want to keep that going. There were a lot of families’ lives that we touched over the years, and it was important to me. And it’s still important to me.

“Head Start has become more of a political, bureaucratic game than it is to serve the children and families. That’s part of the reason I decided to leave. I’ve always worked two jobs. I decided it was time for us to have it here [at The Lodge Twisted], and just be in one place. I want my kids to work here, and their kids. We hope to make it a family, ongoing thing.”

Moore has operated her restaurant for a little over a year.

“I think that the [Chamber of Commerce] does have a good handle on trying to bring things back to Corydon, to get things more happening,” Moore says. “That’s a good thing, because that’s the base of our community and our county. It’s our hub. If we don’t support the hub, then all the spokes are going to start breaking off the wheel.

“My main thing is, I want to be a part of some of the good memories. So many people move in and out that nobody keeps contact with their neighbors like they used to. I used to be able to walk the streets in Allerton and tell you who lived in every house. You just can’t do that anymore. I know that we have a lot of people coming in—East Penn has brought in a lot more people. I think the people that move here need to see that we’re more than just a place to find work—there’s a community base out here for people. My main focus is for the community.

“I just want people to feel the camaraderie. I look at my employees and my regular customers as family. I feel for them. I’m not a very good businesswoman, because I feel for them too much.

“I just wanted the community to know—we got a little bit of flack for being open Christmas Day—but when I’m open on Christmas Day, it’s because there are a lot of people out there that don’t have families. And it’s not about coming in here drinking to get drunk. We always have food and snacks for people. People can come in here and express themselves and not be alone.

“My dream for this place is to take it back. I want to find pictures and articles about the people that have been here through the years. It’s all about community. I want the community to feel welcome.”

For Moore, taking ownership of her restaurant was a leap of faith.

“I’ve always said I wanted to have a place of my own, but I was never willing and brave enough to step right out and go ahead and do it. I used to work in a place that was built a lot like this. Some of the best years of my life—I was young and more vibrant—I just enjoyed it. I like the ambience of the place. For me, I feel more comfortable here than I do at home. I like the comfort of it. It’s set up so that families can come in. We had 27 in here one night as a group, and that filled the place up. We’re getting a pretty good reputation. I call it my house. And it is. And I love it.”

Her daughter, Lydia Anderson, shares her sentiments:

“Whenever I come in on Sundays, I feel like I’m at a family gathering. Because there’s always snacks around. It’s just like family gatherings for Christmas or Thanksgiving.”

“I bought it because the time was right in my life,” Moore says. “I felt like the community needed another restaurant. It’s going to sound vain, but I know how to cook. That was not a chore. That was the easy part."

Moore decided to start suspended meals the 1st of January. She has not had anyone come forward to accept a suspended meal, but she expects people to do so once she gets the word out.

A woman from Leon, Angie Jensen, heard about Moore’s post on Facebook about suspended meals, and asked that Moore forward more information about it to Jensen. Jensen wants to start something of her own at her Leon shop.

“We’ve waited to tell about it until we can advertise it in the paper, so that people will know the ins and outs of it. As soon as it gets in the paper, we’ll start posting it and have a call line.”

Anyone interested in the suspended meals program at The Lodge Twisted can call Connie Moore at 641-872-3663. The post will also be on the restaurant’s Facebook page.