October 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.


  • Mark B

    If the Demcrats are coming to Help she is Doomed.

    • Zen Grouch

      The fact that this post received 6 -up- votes speaks volumes about the Republican’t party…

  • Jimbo Lemon

    She’s losing money from the dine and dashing republicans

    • Joe Smith

      The raise in minimum wage will sink her anyway.

      • Mark B

        A democratic Agenda

  • FoodForThought63

    I wish she had a menu posted online. I am a vegetarian so typically skip these types of places as they rarely have healthy meatless options. I’ve searched online for a menu numerous times over the years to no avail.

    • ekwaykway

      Why don’t you just go there? Duh!

      • FoodForThought63

        Because I am not going to waste my time going downtown, finding somewhere to park, and walking in only to see a menu and find there is nothing on it that I can eat. Most restaurants have their menus somewhere online, I don’t see why she hasn’t put hers out there. It might bring in more customers. Duh

        • ekwaykway

          I’m sure they have a nice garden salad you will enjoy!

          • FoodForThought63

            LOL if that’s it I’ll pass thanks…I can buy a bag of that at the grocery store. Jimmy John’s can’t open soon enough.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    must be election time get there name in the paper time…………….cause I’m sure when people here that this is going on they will all rush right in……………..

  • Sis Delish

    Put my meal on Bullock’s Tab…

  • 2111

    Stupid elected representatives, it’s not the governments place to pick winners and losers. Working hard is only one component to success. If it was the only one there would be plenty of successful people. The downtown location is most likely the demise of the business and honest hard work can’t overcome that.

  • INavon

    The article did not say how the city will help to keep Donna in business. Standing around getting in the way sure won’t. Neither will taking money out of servers’ pockets who normally work that shift. This is either BS on Elyria’s part or bad reporting

  • Mickey Mouse

    Donna, I have seen how hard you work. Yes I am talking to you directly. Donna I took my business out of Elyria because the mass did not support me unless i was giving it away to them. Donna in order to have a successful Restaurant business in Elyria, or any City, you need to be able to run a 27% food cost and a 23% or lower, labor cost and a 30% operating cost. The rest should be for you. Donna that cannot happen in Elyria for in order to run a 27% you have to raise your prices and the people of Elyria will not pay that price. This is the same problem Moss’s had. Donna , sit down, calculate your cost. Talk to your creditors and let them know you have a plan in hand and this is what you are going to do, you may have a chance. Donna If this group of people will support you when the chips are down. Than i will believe that they will support you with higher prices. Good Luck!!!! May God Bless you!!

  • John Davidson

    It won’t help. Elyria is a dead city full of crime. No one wants to visit it.

    • SniperFire

      But the brilliant mayor wants to spend $10 million on the train station a mile away to drive ‘foot traffic’ to the downtown! LOL

      • Zen Grouch

        Do you guys have an answer to anything that doesn’t involve doing NOTHING!

        **gridlock… don’t knock it ’till you tried it!**

        • SniperFire

          Stoners and other losers expecting the gubmint to do everything for us is what causes the problem. Got Cleveland or Detroit?

          • Zen Grouch

            How exactly is the “gubmint” involved in this story of neighbor helping neighbor?

            How many of your tax dollars, if you pay taxes that is, is being spent to keep this business viable and a tax generator?

            I don’t expect an answer, since that might require a bit of independent thinking on your part.

            **”Ya’ ignorant twit [sic]!”**

          • SniperFire

            ‘I don’t expect an answer’ Good. Cuffing about drug addled minds has limited entertainment value and soon borders on the tedium.

          • Zen Grouch

            I didn’t expect an answer, because even in my drug addled state, I’ve, yet again, cornered you into an indefensible position.

            Anyway, you refuse to address the aspect of how the “gubmint” is involved or not involved…

            …so, what exactly do you have against neighbors helping neighbors?

            **Checkmate!**

          • John Davidson

            These do gooders will only be around a short period of time and then go on their way. Leaving Donna to close her diner with less money than she has now. Donna sorry to say it is useless. Get out while the getting is good.

          • Zen Grouch

            Yeah… people can only fake that kind of American kindness for one’s neighbor for so long, before they can’t take it any more and burn down her business like they should a done in the first place!!!

  • http://thorner100gmail.com/ Terry Horner

    I think it is amazing how people are trying to step up and give a helping hand .

    • Mickey Mouse

      Terry, why dont you move back here to Elyria if you love it so much? Dont you live in Amherst?

      • http://thorner100gmail.com/ Terry Horner

        So Mickey Mouse this means you know me .Well at least you think you do, I never lived in AMHERST .lol Still here in my home town and not afraid to put my real name on my post .lol Because I was taught by my grandmother if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say nothing at all . I will not respond to negative people so move on to your next victim .

  • Greg White

    Who says you cant make money in Elyria?

    • Mickey Mouse

      I perfer to run a honest business taking money from people and than claiming it!!! Yes you can make all kinds of money if you dont pay taxes on what you make!!

      • FoodForThought63

        Are you suggesting Greg doesn’t pay taxes?

      • Greg White

        I pay more taxes than you can imagine. Stop hiding behind your screen name and prove I dont pay taxes. You cant and I would take everything you got in court.

        • FoodForThought63

          Exactly. And you work to make Elyria a better place Greg-I’ve seen it first hand as a member of some of the same groups you are in. I am curious to what business Mickey Mouse runs…I highly doubt it is the real Mickey Mouse-it is most likely an impersonator.

  • golfingirl

    I have an idea!

    Set up a drive through window so all the people leaving Elyria can grab lunch to go.

    Make sure there are lids on those drinks, I would hate to see someone spill it all over themselves when they hit a pothole.