December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Donna’s Diner gets reprieve

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 — Donna Dove is not ready to give up.

A surge of customers after elected officials volunteered to work in her restaurant prompted Dove to decide to keep her business, Donna’s Diner, open.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook with people telling me how much they support me,” she said Tuesday.

She paused between customers at the diner, 148 Middle Ave. in downtown Elyria, to answer a few questions and was giddy as she talked about the steady stream of customers since news hit last week that she planned to close and sell the business.

“I’m going to get my food service license — I have to be there with money in hand by 3 p.m. Friday — and take a chance,” Dove said.

It’s rare that Council members will step behind the counter to help a business. Many, including this week’s helpers — Forrest Bullocks, a former Elyria city councilman and current clerk of Elyria City Council as well as the head of the Elyria Democrat Party; Councilwoman Brenda Davis, D-2nd Ward; Councilman Marcus Madison; and Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large — eat there regularly.

But in recent months, business has dipped so low Dove said she has had trouble just keeping the lights on.

Donna’s Diner has been a staple in the community for 14 years and was featured prominently in a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer’s series published in 2012 in the New York Times.