WELCOME TO EASY STREET INN… Some of the staff take a moment out of a busy evening to welcome you to Easy Street. Pictured (from the left) are Corine Fickett, Amanda Moore, owner John Demis, Nick Forestieri, and owner Karen Demis. (TCR photo by Teresa Smithers)
Easy Street Inn: A Coloma institution
By Teresa Smithers Easy Street Inn is more than just a great bar where vacationers can get a tasty sandwich and a drink. It is a vital part of the community of Coloma itself. Because it is such a popular place, sometimes people forget that and are surprised when they find it open after Labor Day. “We don’t close our doors when the tourists leave, we don’t even cut back our hours,” owner Karen Demis said. “It’s our community that has kept us open all these years. They support us and, in return, we support them.” As a lifelong resident of Coloma, Karen wants to see her hometown thrive. Owning Easy Street makes it possible for her to be a part of that. Karen didn’t plan to open a restaurant. She and her husband, John Demis, just acquired the building for his glass business. But as a former waitress, Karen knew the basics and especially, she knew what good service was, and it shows. Easy Street is a clean, attractive place with a relaxing atmosphere, great food and friendly staff, all things that both visitors to the Coloma area and lifelong residents value. For 23 years, people have been meeting at Easy Street over delicious hamburgers, the famous chicken fingers or the always popular perch basket. Church groups come in after service; policemen, fire, even the medical community like to gather there. And Karen and her dedicated staff welcome them all. “One night, the place was full of dentists,” Karen reflected, with a smile. The staff makes Easy Street the comfortable place it is. “Most of our staff has been here since the beginning,” Karen explains. You could say some have been there all their lives. Alizabeth Hudson used to be brought to Easy Street as a babe while her father worked there. Now, she works there herself. “I couldn’t do this without them,” Karen said, indicating her staff. “They really are like my family.” Located at 275 N. Paw Paw Street in downtown Coloma, Easy Street Inn opens daily at 11 a.m. and at noon on Sundays. They offer daily specials for lunch and dinner, along with a full menu, including a wide variety of hamburgers, ribs, steak, perch, shrimp, and prime rib. There is even an in-depth appetizer menu. During the ultra-busy summer weekends, Karen has one rule: No take-out orders are taken over the phone. If you want take-out, you have to come in to order it. The reason is simple. “If I was a customer, I wouldn’t want to have to wait for my order even longer because someone called in an order before me,” she explains. The face-to-face customers come first at Easy Street, they always have.