The Inn on Coventry celebrates 32 years
Owners Debbie Duirk and Mary Haley have been running their family-style dining business, the Inn on Coventry, for more than three decades.
“After I finished college, I met Mary," said Duirk. "She had a dream of opening up a restaurant and so did I. Amy Haley [Mary’s mother] was 96 years old and worked here every Sunday until she passed away.”
The artsy and eclectic vibe of Coventry appealed to Haley and Duirk when they were looking for a location for their business. “Coventry Yard had just burned down and there was an empty space here," Duirk said.
Although the economy has taken a toll on many businesses, Duirk and Haley have tried to keep prices low. They set “budget” prices from the start, and Duirk pointed out, "We have a morning breakfast special that's $4.25, with eggs, bacon and fried toast. You can’t beat that.”
“Meeting people is the best part of our business,” Duirk said. “We love meeting all the people who come through here and have a lot of longtime customers who have become friends.” She noted that the Inn on Coventry brings in customers from the neighborhood, as well as nearby colleges and hospitals.
“We really do have a successful business so we don’t do a lot of advertising anymore,” Duirk said. “We sometimes distribute flyers during street fairs. We dress up in pancake suits and hand them out. We’ve gotten a lot of catering jobs through word-of-mouth.”
The Inn on Coventry is known for its eggs Benedict, and has won awards for its homemade sauce. The Inn offers eight different types of pancakes, and the batter is made fresh daily. The Inn also features many vegetarian dishes.
“I really enjoy running the business,” Duirk said. “We have the best staff we’ve had in 32 years. They’re dedicated to the job and know they’re coming here to make money and go home to take care of their family.”
Yelena Tischenko is a senior majoring in magazine journalism at Kent State University and a Heights Observer summer editorial intern.