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      09-14-18 The Roadster Factory E-Mail Newsletter

THE COVENTRY INN.    EMAIL FROM CHARLES.    SEPTEMBER 14, 2018

THE COVENTRY INN IS CLOSING IMMEDIATELY AS WE CANNOT FIND ENOUGH STAFF TO RUN THE RESTAURANT

Dear Restaurant Customer,

Yes!  It is true—The Coventry Inn is closing for lack of staff to run the restaurant.  Dan Compston has been a critical employee for several years, and he has now found his dream job as a diesel mechanic.  Losing Dan in addition to a bar tender and two servers who returned to busy academic schedules brought a sudden end to what we have been able to accomplish recently.  Although we have advertised as usual, we have had very few applicants—a hostess quit after her fourth week, and one new server failed to show up for her first shift.

The Coventry Inn’s hold on life has been tenuous since we lost Chef Josh back in the autumn of 2016.  He was our first or second best chef ever, and a lot of menu planning and other duties have fallen on me since then.  With the loss of Simon in the spring of 2017, my own will was quelled for some time, and we went to one day of service each week.  It was not until autumn 2017 that we began serving dinners again.  We struggled to create an upmarket menu that could be produced without an trained chef.  I researched my family recipes, read recipe books like novels, and ransacked the web for ideas.  In the spring, we added a couple of high school culinary students who helped to expand Darlene’s power.  Darlene worked hard to perfect every recipe that I gave her.

Aside from Paige who had worked at Coventry during her college years, all of our servers started from scratch with no experience, but both Quinn and Jazmin turned out well, giving Paige a break from time to time.  Zoe came on as a bar tender in the spring and added a lot, but in the end she got a full-time job, and Quinn and Jazmin went back to their identities as students.  Dan Compston did yeoman service behind the bar after Zoe left, also working as a mechanic at The Roadster Factory and traveling to car shows with me to represent that company.  Employees seem very hard to get now, and no one seems to want to be a server, although they can make $100.00 on a good Friday at The Coventry Inn for a few hours of work.

We have had a loyal group of customers who dined a couple of times each month over many years.  They have always been encouraging and also worried when we went to one day a week that we could last.  I am very thankful to all of the regulars and to all of those who came occasionally.  I like to think that we were able to provide something different from most local restaurants, and I know that many appreciated our insistence on cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, although preparation sometimes took a little longer than they may have wished.

I love The Coventry Inn.  I was instrumental in its design and in acquiring its unique fittings and furniture.  For me, it has worn well with all of the vicissitudes, and I can sit on the sofa at the back of the bar and admire the eclectic beauty of the place.  But it is the people that I shall miss the most, both the regular customers and many of the staff, mostly students who worked a couple of years and then went off to live their lives, enriched, I hope by their experience at The Coventry Inn.  Several of these earned the bulk of their college expenses by working in the restaurant, and they were known to customers by name.  Among adult employees whom I shall remember are Ronnie Day, aka “Little Bird,” and Andy Patterson who kept the place clean before Dan came on.

All of this happened kind of suddenly.  Too many people left at one time without anyone coming on to replace them.  I did not plan to close when I came to The Coventry Inn last Friday, and I greeted customers as usual.  I was disappointed that the new server had not shown up to work, as it was going to be Quinn’s last night, but I did not know until the end of the evening that Dan was going to give his “two week’s notice.”  Still I am a fairly quick study when the evidence is put before me.  Without Dan and all of the others, there is no way that Paige and I along with the small kitchen staff could run the restaurant.  We need eight or ten committed workers, and four or five is hopeless.  Thankfully, Paige, for one, is also employed at The Roadster Factory, and two of the kitchen staff are still high school students.  As Dan’s mother, I am sure that Darlene realized that his quitting would be the end of her job.

What will I do?  It would break my heart to sell The Coventry Inn, but at almost seventy-two, I shall have little choice in the long run.  With the restaurant closed, I may make some improvements to the building as time and finances permit, and perhaps on some winter evenings, I will build a fire in the fireplace to roast hot dogs and to enjoy some drinks with family or friends.  In the end, however, my building will have to live on without me, I only hope I can find a new owner who will love it as I have and maybe complete the work which is still undone...

Thanks to all who’ve patronized The Coventry Inn over the past twenty-five years.  We have had some great times.  I won’t forget...

Your friend,
Charles A. Runyan
The Coventry Inn
September 13, 2018



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