DOVER — Business partners Howard Johnson and Donna Ignasz said words can’t describe their feelings toward their newly opened restaurant in downtown Smyrna.
“I have so many different feelings,” Mr. Johnson said. I feel excited and I feel numb that it’s finally complete.
The Inn at Duck Creek located at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 North Main Street in Smyrna combines several historical buildings to create six dining rooms seating about 12 to 20 people each, a tavern, a kitchen and office space.
The restaurant had a soft opening on Dec. 30, as it’s now officially open for business.
It will offer an upscale dining experience in a historic setting, which will feature a full menu of steaks and seafood at affordable prices, said Mr. Johnson.
The project has been in the works since 2014, as there were many delays and challenges the owners had to face along the way.
“It’s like we had a child,” Ms. Ignasz said. “It’s been so long of a journey that we’re just excited and amazed.
“We were supposed to open back in January, then in May, and then in August, but we had to wait for our funding to get everything complete.
The owners started a Kickstarter, which is a fundraiser that helps businesses raise money for costs.
Mr. Johnson said the money went toward the exterior part of the building, as they didn’t have enough money for it in their original budget, which was $250,000.
Last year when the town was awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the funds went toward renovations for the restaurant, said Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten.
“It’s been a labor of luck,” Mr. Johnson said. “These buildings have been unoccupied for a long time. The second floor of this building hasn’t been occupied for probably at least 10 years.
The restaurant has five dining rooms, as each one tells a different story.
The Governors Room is dedicated to Smyrna resident William Temple, who at age 32, became the youngest governor to serve the state in 1846.
The Ide Room is named after the building’s owner Edward H. Ide, who runs i3a, a Smyrna engineering and construction management firm.
Other rooms include the Covert Room, Bailey Room and Reed Room.
All of the rooms were $3,000, as people still have a chance to pay that amount to have a room named after them as well.
“All of the rooms were paid for in order for that to happen,” Mr. Johnson said. When we started our Kickstarter that helped us raise money.
“We had to have a top-line item that would reel people in, so we figured giving a life-long name to a family for a room was a good item. We still have one room available, so we hope people are interested.”
Mayor Masten is excited about the town’s continuous growth.
“This restaurant is great,” Mayor Masten said. I love it. I was born and raised here, so when I ran for council in 2011 I told myself that I wanted to do as much as I could revitalize the downtown area.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but we’ve found a way to get it done,” Mayor Masten added.
“Everything about the restaurant is great, to the quality of food, to the presentation of everything. It’s just a great place that I think everyone will love.
The owners hope the restaurant becomes a staple in the community for many years to come.
“We want to make sure we have a long life here,” Ms. Ignasz said. It’s a great town and everyone seems to be really excited that we’re here.”
“We plan to give back to the community in the spring, as we hope to hold a gala here,” she added.
“All of the funds that we raise, we’re going to give it to the Opera House and the museum. We want to give back any way that we can.”