Red Lion Van Orman-Roberts Hotel

Red Lion Van Orman-Roberts Hotel

The Red Lion opened in 1963 at the Van Orman-Roberts hotel, and was a popular dining room and supper club, with dancing and live music. Alongside the Red Lion was the Carnival Room, the hotel’s bar. The dining room was known for its open hearth charcoal broiler, and its musical acts, such as the frequently returning Jack Olsen Trio.

In 1966, The Red Lion redecorated and updated their servers’ uniform to be what they described as “bunny girls,” all to great success. The dining room was very popular for birthday parties, sorority gatherings, Muncie Duplicate Bridge club meetings, and the room hosted many bustling New Year's Eve parties.

The Van Orman-Roberts Hotel faced financial trouble starting in 1971, and employees began pitching in on their free time to clean and repair the hotel in an effort to keep it open. After a change of ownership in 1972, the Red Lion room and Carnival room shut down for renovation, and while it was supposed to reopen in a few short weeks, it was not mentioned again until the end of 1972. The hotel was placed into receivership, and the new owners ceased hotel service, but reopened the Red Lion and the ballroom. They discussed making the former hotel rooms apartments. Everything in the former hotel was auctioned off. The dining room and ballroom underwent renovations, and reopened as “The Roberts.” 

The Roberts hotel lasted for several years, until reopening as a Radisson hotel in 1987. The Roberts Dining Room, what the Red Lion was renamed years earlier, was transformed into Roma’s Italian restaurant in 1991. After many more tumultuous ownership changes, the Hotel Roberts closed for good in late 2006, and is now The Lofts at Roberts, an apartment community for seniors.

red lion gallery (photos from lost muncie and the star press)

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