Duffy’s Tavern now closed after 55 years

 

Duffys Closure Duffys Closure2By Ron Giofu

 

Duffy’s Tavern is now closed and the owners and managers therein are at peace with the decision.

The restaurant closed New Year’s Eve with friends and customers stopping by the Dalhousie St. establishment to say their farewells. Owner Zarko Vucinic said the previous Friday night was Duffy’s best night in the 55 years he owned the restaurant.

“So many people came here,” he said, estimating that 1,000 passed through the doors at various points throughout the evening.

Vucinic said people have been expressing “nothing but best wishes” and have been taking numerous picture of he, the staff and the restaurant. The 92-year-old said he is now more at ease with the decision to leave and sell the property, which also includes the neighbouring motel.

“I feel much better because I’ve made my decision,” said Vucinic on New Year’s Eve. “I am very, very much relaxed. We are almost at the end.”

The well-wishers came not only from this area, but from the United States as well.

“You wouldn’t believe how many Americans came here to congratulate me and wish me the best,” said Vucinic.

Many of the people hadn’t been to Duffy’s in years, he stated, as 9/11 had a definite impact on his business.

“Now everyone came to wish me the best in my retirement,” he said. “Believe me, I didn’t know I had so many friends.”

Vucinic is hopeful someone buys it and keeps the facility he ran for 55 years. He said he has been told by his real estate agent that “a couple of parties are interested in it.”

“I wish if anyone buys it that it flourishes more than it flourished with me,” said Vucinic.

Vucinic added he is proud of the 55 years he owned Duffy’s “but everything comes to an end.”

“I wish all our customers, all of our associates and all the people here and from surrounding areas the best in their futures,” he added.

His daughter Grace Zec helped Vucinic manage the business and Zec said she plans to relax going forward knowing she doesn’t have to have the responsibilities of running Duffy’s.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but it was the right decision,” said Zec.

The level of support from the public and their customers was something that caught them off-guard, she added.

“I don’t think either of us expected the impact of being in business for 55 years had on our customers until we saw four generations come in and have their last meal here,” she said. “Many memories were made here. You realize what an impact you made in the industry.”

Zec said that being able to relax means she will be able to have her own schedule.

“When everyone else was off, I was working,” she said. “When you are in management, the buck stops with you.”

Zec added she is excited for the future but is thankful for the support of the customers over the years.

“We in our family opened our doors to everyone else’s family,” she said. “We just want to thank everyone for some great memories and for all our customers that let us be family.”

The motel will remain open until the property is sold, she added. It is being listed for $3.75 million.

“This is a unique property,” Zec added. “It’s going to take unique buyers.”

Some of the customers that came out on the restaurant’s final day included Chris Kerrigan and wife Lorri along with her parents John and Sharron Vandenham. Chris met his wife while she was working as a bartender at Duffy’s when she was in college.

“They are coming to say goodbye,” said Sharron.

“We’ve been coming here, my wife and I, for 50 years. The perch has always been excellent,” said John. “I think we are going to miss this place. It’s going to be missed by a lot of people.”

“It’s going to be missed by the town,” added Chris.

Lorri believed it was “sad” the restaurant was closing, saying people could consistently get good meals and see people they knew.

“Whenever I came here, I always knew someone,” she said. “That’s going to be gone now.”

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