Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette in Avon Lake

I mentioned Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette in the restaurant roster that I posted on Monday as one of the places in Avon Lake that was open in 1969. Above is a current photo of the building at 33451 Lake Road in Avon Lake that was home to the diner operated by Paul and Evelyn Kulyk.

The article below, which appeared in the Press on December 22, 1993 during a transitional time for the restaurant, provides a nice history of the business.

McDonough’s re-open Paul & Evelyn’s
By Karen Drasler

AVON LAKE - The funny shaped building at 33451 Lake Road, famous for nearly a half century as Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette until it closed just over a year ago, is now open under new management.

“The long, narrow building is typical for diners built in the 1940s and 1950s. They are modeled after train car dining rooms,” explains one of the new managers, Marsha McDonough.

“In fact, many of the traditional diners were actual cars from a train. But not this one,” she adds with a twinkle, because the Paul & Evelyn’s building is not exactly rectangular. Its shape conforms to the irregular shape left between two larger buildings.

The diner is typical in that customers choosing one of the 13 bar stool seats at the counter can watch the cooks working.

McDonough is well aware of many traditions Avon Lakers treasure from the landmark dinette, which closed when Paul had to bow out because of illness. He operated the restaurant himself following the death of his beloved wife, Evelyn, several years before. Paul Kulyk has been in Pennsylvania recuperating at a brother’s house, but is back in Avon Lake from time to time.

Paul and Evelyn’s was not a place to go to have a private conversation. Whatever topic came up, it got tossed around among the other customers and Paul.

Paul cultivated a reputation as a local character, albeit a charming character for the most part. One of his favorite sayings was reportedly: “Order what you want. Eat what you get.”

Rumor has it that Paul used to encourage customers he liked by charging them less, and discouraged those he didn’t by charging them more, for the same order.

Another story from many years ago is that Paul didn’t like a group of construction workers from the CEI plant across the street coming in, because their muddy feet got his floor dirty. So he brought all kinds of stuff from the back room and piled it on the tables. When the workers came in and said, “There’s no where to sit!” Paul replied, “That’s right.”

A different type of tradition people remind Marsha about is Evelyn’s wonderful homemade pies, with strong hints that it should be continued.

“That’s a very labor-intensive proposition,” she says, nodding her head. “I’m going to have to think about that one.”

The new managers of Paul & Evelyn’s have some traditions of their own. Michael and Marsha McDonough, and their children – Marty, 23; Tim, 21; Kevin, 19, and Megan, 17 – already operate one restaurant in Avon Lake: Lenny’s Deli & Beverage at 33688 Walker Road.

In the 10-plus years since the McDonoughs took over Lenny’s, it has changed from a mostly carry-out beverage store, to being mostly a restaurant with wine and other beverages as a side-line. Their youngest child was seven, the oldest 13 when the McDonoughs eased into the restaurant business.

The children have matured and are now much-valued helpers. In fact, after overseeing the initial set-up stage, Marsha is back at Lenny’s (where she manages the day shift) leaving sons Tim and Kevin in charge at the new location. Son Marty manages the late-afternoon and evening shifts at Lenny’s. Megan, a senior at Avon High School, helps out as her time permits.

The new Paul & Evelyn’s will be open by 6:30 or 7 a.m. with pancakes, omelettes and other breakfast fare. It will also be open for lunch.

“Tim’s a morning person,” his mother says with a smile.

Kevin, a daytime college student, and Megan, who is a senior at Avon High School, help out in their free time.

Their dad, Mike, works full-time as sales manager for Eagle International and pitches in on Saturday and evenings at the food business.

The McDonough family resides in Avon where Mike is the Ward 4 councilman. He’s also known in some circles as a dirt bike racer.

“He’s always thinking, always busy doing four things at once,” wife Marsha says. “Sometimes he reads while he’s driving and eating,” she laughs, but a hint of concern flits over her calm features.

In addition to breakfast, the new place will feature juicy hamburgers and French fries. Lenny’s speciality is deli-type food.

“My cholesterol level was getting low. I’m glad you opened the new place,” a customer jokes.

When the new managers were getting Paul & Evelyn’s ready to re-open, they found a box of old menus from the early days at the restaurant.

“Do you know what a nickel would buy back then?” Marsha asks.

“A cup of coffee.”

Paul Kulyk passed away in October 2002. Here is the link to his obituary.


Tony Tomanek said...

Great memories of Paul & Evelyn's. Never ask for ketchup to put on your homefries! Thanks for this post Dan.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Tony! I was hoping you would see this!