Smyrna’s Inn at Duck Creek closes doors


SMYRNA — The Inn at Duck Creek, seen as one of the cornerstones of Smyrna’s Main Street revitalization, closed its doors on Tuesday.

Town officials hope the doors will just be shut temporarily as the town of Smyrna Economic Development team, along with the building’s owner, i3a LLC, and former operators Howard Johnson and Donna Ignasz, try to find a new tenant for the space.

Smyrna town officials hope to find somebody to take over the Inn at Duck Creek which closed Tuesday. (Delaware State News file)

Smyrna town officials hope to find somebody to take over the Inn at Duck Creek which closed Tuesday. (Delaware State News file)

The restaurant opened at the beginning of the year at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 N. Main St., combining several historical buildings to create six dining rooms that sat around 12 to 20 people each.

Smyrna Town Manager Dave Hugg said that Rick Ferrell, economic development consultant for the town, is talking with several restaurateurs about concepts for a turnkey operation.

“It was not entirely unexpected,” Mr. Hugg said. “The owners tried their best to get through the summer slowdown but just couldn’t make it.

“We’ve already had a number of inquiries so I fully expect a new operator to come forth soon.”

The Inn at Duck Creek had been in the works since 2014 and owners Mr. Johnson and Ms. Ignasz said they had to overcome numerous obstacles and delays just to open.

When it did open in January, Ms. Ignasz told the Delaware State News, “It’s like we had a child. It’s been so long of a journey that we’re just excited and amazed.”

Now, Smyrna is hoping to attract a restaurant group that will take over the operation with a new concept and continue to grow downtown Smyrna’s dining district.

The historic Phillips Building, where the Inn at Duck Creek is located, was renovated in 2015 through a revolving loan program funded by the USDA and made available by the Smyrna Redevelopment Authority. The project made use of various incentives offered by the Economic Development Committee.

Mr. Hugg said the property owners of 2-10 North Main Street are in good standing and repayment will continue as scheduled as the restaurant is marketed.

He also said the revitalization of Smyrna’s downtown will continue, despite the setback.

“It is not the best news, but the Smyrna ‘buzz’ has gained so much momentum that we will get through this setback in fine shape,” Mr. Hugg said.

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