Print Edition

  Email News Updates

Hourigan goes from employee to owner of MoonDance Restaurant

By Keyona Kelly


Purchased the business during the pandemic

Courtney Hourigan (right) and family, at their MoonDance Restaurant & Tavern. (PHOTO CREDIT: MOONDANCE RESTAURANT & TAVERN)

MARCELLUS — The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the hospitality and food industries. While struggling to stay afloat financially, many local restaurants have relied on their loyal customer base. 

Offering take-out options has been an essential tool for these small businesses to maintain their cash flows, until the public can gather once again and enjoy all the culinary options the Syracuse area has to offer. Hope seems nearly here as New York state slowly reopens in a strategically phased approach.

Courtney Hourigan has been an employee of MoonDance Restaurant & Tavern in Marcellus for the past 11 years now. She began working there at the age of 18, and she has learned every facet of the business over the past decade. When the owner, Frank Mincolla, was ready to sell the business and move into retirement, Hourigan saw her opportunity. But Courtney had no idea how she would proceed with the purchase, or even where to start.

After searching online, Hourigan found the Onondaga Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and started to work with me in 2018. 

“Keyona [Kelly] was great from the very beginning. She gave us really simple, easy examples and instructions that laid out the steps for us to take in order for us to start buying a business. She led us to the legal, CPA, and insurance professionals we needed for the purchase to get us on the right path to where we are today,” Hourigan said.

I worked with Courtney and her husband to develop a business plan and financial projections. I helped them understand the profitability and assess the value of the business before pursuing the purchase. 

Hourigan and her husband closed on the purchase of the business on April 15, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In my eyes, it was the perfect opportunity to watch my dreams fall into place. We are taking this time to get some remodeling and updating done, while planning for reopening under the new social-distancing protocols,” she said.

The purchase of the business was a combination of lender and owner financing of the 1,876-square-foot location at 2512 Cherry Valley Turnpike (Route 20) in Marcellus. By purchasing this business, Courtney and her husband have been able to save the jobs of 11 employees, and they plan to add two more positions once MoonDance Restaurant & Tavern reopens at full capacity.

The MoonDance menu includes BBQ chicken, pulled pork, BBQ ribs, prime- rib sandwiches, clams, shrimp, fish dinners and sandwiches, chicken parmigiana, meatballs, pasta, tacos, chicken wings, and more. Check out the restaurant on Facebook at or call MoonDance at (315) 673-1135.

Advisor’s Business Tip: The purchase of an already-established business can have many financial benefits and can also minimize the entrepreneurial risk.   

Keyona Kelly is a certified business advisor at the SBDC, located at Onondaga Community College. Contact her at

Thank You For Visiting