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November 9, 2012

Ma Duke's restaurant back in business

DANVERS — Thanks to the community’s generosity, the lights were back on at Ma Duke’s yesterday as owner Debby Marticio of Danvers plans to reopen today.

She was not only getting ready to serve her regulars, she said, but also preparing to feed hundreds with a free meal on Thanksgiving.

To defray the cost of hosting those meals, All Saints Episcopal Church on Holten and Cherry streets is holding a spaghetti supper on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

“I’ve been here today doing all the prep,” Marticio said yesterday from behind the counter of her restaurant, at 139 Maple St. Her biggest challenges now are letting people know she’s open and arranging to prepare the Thanksgiving meal for those in need. Community donations helped defray the cost of the meals, which last year ran $10,500. She also counts on volunteers to prepare, serve and deliver them.

“Now we have to get it out there, we have to get people to start volunteering for Thanksgiving.”

Danvers Electric, a municipal electric utility operated by the town, shut the power off to the mainstay on Oct. 22. Town officials have said that, while unfortunate given Marticio’s generosity, the shutoff was a measure of last resort after the eatery fell six months behind on its electric bill.

The small restaurant is tucked behind Lyons Ambulance just off Danvers Square. For the past six years, Marticio and her two employees, her daughter and husband, have served free Thanksgiving meals. Last year, Ma Duke’s served nearly 1,000 free meals to homeless families living in motels, housebound residents, young people struggling with substance abuse in Danvers and those living in transitional housing in Peabody, plus anyone else who needed a meal of turkey with all the fixings.

“I can’t do it without everybody’s help,” Marticio said.

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