December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria officials pitch in to help Donna’s Diner

Donna Dove serves food at her diner in October 2012 at about the same time her Elyria eatery was featured in The New York Times. CHRONICLE FILE

Donna Dove serves food at her diner in October 2012 at about the same time her Elyria eatery was featured in The New York Times. CHRONICLE FILE

ELYRIA — The city’s elected officials are not letting Donna’s Diner go down without a fight.

News that the downtown eatery, which brought Elyria international recognition when it served as the backdrop to a five-part series in the New York Times, is planning to close has ignited the passion to serve from some.

“We want to spur some business and see something good happen for Donna,” said Forrest Bullocks, a former Elyria councilman and current clerk of Elyria City Council as well as head of the Elyria Democratic Party. “We’re trying to do what we can to support Donna. We don’t want to see her have to close, so we are going to help.”

Bullocks and others are even willing to work for the cause. They are planning to don aprons this week to greet and serve customers.

Councilwoman Brenda Davis, D-2nd Ward, will volunteer 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, will work 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Thursday. Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large, will temporarily give up his table by the window — he is a regular customer of Donna’s — 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

Bullocks and his wife, Gloria, will work tables 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Owner Donna Dove has said that running the restaurant, something she has done for more than 14 years, is financially crippling her and closing seems to be the best solution. Her food license expires Friday. Dove said she is still contemplating renewing it.

But lovers of Donna’s Diner, especially those who have frequented the establishment, believe saving the business can happen if everyone supports Dove at her eatery on the corner of Middle Avenue and Second Street.

Dove is not surprised by the gesture from Bullocks and others, but she also would like to see the good wishes of so many Elyrians shown in her daily receipts. She said her phone has not stopped ringing since she placed ‘‘for sale” signs in the windows of her restaurant and announced she was closing.

“People still care. I know that because they tell me all the time,” she said. “But I need everyone to stop thinking about coming in and just do it.”

When he dines in the morning with a faithful group known as the “Breakfast Club,” Madison said he likes to have a simple bacon, egg and cheese. While there, he said he notices one thing.

“You can see Donna work real hard to keep that place going,” he said. “That is something I can get behind and support. I’m happy to lend a helping hand to possible keep a downtown business open.”

It is too soon to tell if a week of attention will keep the door open or serve as a long goodbye.

“I love this place too much to say goodbye, but I can’t keep going like this,” Dove said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.