It takes special kind of attention to bring a successful brand to disaster. Unfortunately, the beloved Donkey Diner succumbed to such a fate. Past history has shown that this Coral Bay icon has transcended recurring transfers in ownership, with sustained, and sometimes heightened, success. I've been a DD patron since first visiting Love City in '03, again in '05, many times during extended caretaking jobs in '07 - '10, and then as a regular, several time a month guest beginning 2 years ago, when I became a Coral Bay resident.
I wrote a disappointed review last October, just after the recent owner took over. I needn't repeat the historical chronology that's truthfully attested in the reviews the past 8 months. I was being kind in rating with 2s and 3s, looking at what positives were persisting. These "positives" likely gave rise to the great ratings of a few visitors who had the good luck of things rarely going right. During the merry go round of staff turnover, some good employees might have given some folks a legitimate, satisfying DD experience. I have continued to go to DD for take out pizzas, and most have been pretty good. They've always been promised in 20 minutes and were never ready, sometimes, not even in the oven in that time. (Not once, because the place was busy.)
I take out, because I was dissatisfied with the sterile environment and installation of big screen tv's in place of the good karma of funky atmosphere, good music, friendly and attentive management, mirrored in the staff. Only since early spring has a new manager been actually on site during my brief visits. The prior manager was not available, even when I called to know when he would be in and still could not make contact about overpaying for missing ingredients on a prior takeout.
I'm not opposed to someone making the DD their own, that's an owner's prerogative. I'll hope the current owner is able to make a quick sale and that another owner will show more knowledge, skill and experience in restoring friendly and attentive management. Regularly dependable 3-5 day a week pizza and 4-7 day a week breakfast on a fixed schedule with timely and consistent service of reliably good food will bring back sustaining local clientele and clear up the hit and miss experience of vacationers. An owner's investment of capital, without an equal measure of on the job presence, will augur continued failure and damage. Skinny's is a good example of how to keep the success of a brand in Coral Bay after it's creator and long term owner retired and sold.
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