morris house bistro

Matt Rooney

Co-Owners, Chef Dameione Cameron and Troy Rumpf pose for a photo at a table in the Morris House Bistro.

Food ignites happiness

Food is a necessity of life. It fuels us and releases chemicals that ignite our inner most happiness. It also allows men to take out women and make them think they care about their day when really they are only thinking about one thing…gravy and mashed potatoes.

Landmark transformed into bistro

So doesn't make sense to eat somewhere that's worthwhile? The Morris House, a Cheyenne landmark, has now been transformed into a bistro that promises both a comforting atmosphere and great food.

The Morris House at 2114 Warren Avenue was once owned by Esther Hobart Morris, who became the first woman U.S. justice of the peace in the late 1800s. She was later appointed vice president of the National American Women Suffrage Association, eventually dying in 1902.

But now two men, Troy Rumpf and Dameione Cameron, have made the house their own in a way that, as their business shows, has taken the town by storm.

Morris House stumbled upon

In looking for a place to set up his law firm, Cameron, who also teaches a juvenile justice class at Laramie County Community College on Tuesday nights, stumbled upon the Morris House. Starting a restaurant had always been in the minds of him and his partner.

"When we walked in the house, we just said, 'This is a restaurant,'" Cameron recalled.

Rumpf, a former theater and communication teacher at LCCC and now the communications director for Climb Wyoming, handles more of the public relations for the restaurant whereas Cameron is the chef.

"It's a combination that works very well I think," said Cameron with Rumpf laughing. "There's a real good cop bad cop thing going on."

Now, open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 5:15 p.m., they are serving packed houses those nights for three reserved seatings.

Being from South Carolina, Cameron has incorporated that flavor into the dishes. "There's a real authentic Southern style to the dishes," Cameron said. Some of these dishes are shrimp and grits, gumbo, fried okra and even catfish (a best seller).

Menu changes each season

But don't expect each dish to be there forever because their menu changes every season in order to keep it fresh.

"It keeps customers from coming in and coming in to end up being bored by the menu," Rumpf said. "It's our way of keeping things fresh with the winter dishes having a heavier feeling and the summer being much lighter taste."

The current winter menu (to be replaced in the first week of March by the spring menu) features low country shrimp and grits, smoked Cornish game hen and grilled pork chop or rib-eye steak.

Now one would think a changing menu of only a handful of options and open only three days a week would be a death sentence for any restaurant.

But, somehow, it all works for this small bistro.

"It gives it an event-like status," Rumpf said. "We have everything from regulars to people coming up from Denver. They even wait outside before we open. It's like a rock concert."

And upon entering the restaurant for a taste of the food they've had to wait, in some case, four long days to get, they are greeted by something some could say is far more important—a welcoming atmosphere.

Home away from home

The bistro has a warmth and style that makes the Morris House feel as it should—a home. It makes patrons feel as if they are walking into less of a restaurant and more of a family member's home and are about to engage in a meal that takes them back to days of yesteryear.

"It's intimate yet social," Cameron said. "We really want customers to feel like they can interact with the people around them while eating some amazing food."

On that basis however, don't just assume the place is expensive. If you do, you'll have to bang your head with a ladle out of stubbornness.

"We're not Taco Bell," Cameron said laughing. "Our prices are on the level with many other places in town, and the quality of the food reflects that."

A college student tired of fast-food (We all are, admit it.) can receive a lot of bang for his buck at the bistro. In between their other jobs and working for charities such as Gumbo for Gifts, children's Friday Food Bags and community shelter dinners, the two ever-friendly restaurateurs will be there to put time and effort into making the food they sell work.

"We have a small menu, but what food is on there we are going to stand behind 100 percent," Rumpf said with Cameron adding, "but we also take the customer's opinion on certain dishes into account and may even work stuff in if we can."

But that doesn't mean they'll roll over for any Sally Picky Pants. If a dish is too spicy or rich, guess what? That's what normal people call flavor. They stick to their culinary vision.

For reservations, call 307-369-1378 or go to

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