The first Eddie Rocket's diner in Laois has flung open its chrome and glass doors in Portlaoise, to the delight of a waiting crowd.
Durrow woman Catherine Wilson unlocked the doors at 2pm today, Thursday January 24.
“I am so proud to open up in Laois. I have a branch in Kilkenny and I live there, and we have the Carlow diner as well but this is a great achievement for us all to have one in Laois,” she said.
She expects it to be busy.
“My feeling is it will do well in Portlaoise, it will be a nice venue for parties, and for sit down. We chose to do a soft opening, so if there are any issues we can get them sorted early rather than being very busy opening up on a weekend,” the manager explained.
The American style diner has created 24 local jobs.
“We have employed ten full timers, the rest are part timers working 20 to 24 hours a week, all local girls, and two or three males as well on our floor, a really nice team,” she said.
She is confident in the face of competition from other fast food restaurants in Portlaoise.
“Our customers get the full experience of a sit down restaurant, our staff are very well trained, it’s all about happiness, the fun, the music, and very good food cooked fresh to order, there’s the difference. You’re paying a tiny bit more for the table service and the whole dining experience,” Ms Wilson said.
First in the queue was Portlaoise man Paul Byrne, with his son Ryan and his girlfriend Amy Quinn.
“I was especially here to be first in the queue. Their hot dogs just can’t be beaten anywhere else. It will be my favourite place without a doubt,” Paul said.
Amy is a third level student at Portlaoise College from Ballybrittas.
“This is too easy to get to, you can taste the calories. I’m going be out of college every day down here for my lunch,” she said.
Among the first customers was an excited Abbie Townsend, a pupil at Our Lady’s Meadow NS in Durrow. She was luckily off school for a dental appointment, and convinced her mam Teresa to join the queue.
“I’m looking forward to chicken tenders and a chocolate milkshake, I can’t wait,” she said, while her mother was rueful about giving in to temptation more often.
“It’s very very close, it was harder when it was in Kilkenny and Carlow to get to. The food is just gorgeous, I think it’ll do well,” she said.
An outdoor decking area under construction will be finished in a fortnight, bringing to 130 the number of seats at the restaurant.