Friday, October 1, 2010

O'Rourke's Diner

the original O'Rourke's diner

In keeping with the theme of firsts from earlier this week, Emma also celebrated a major milestone last week - her first trip to O'Rourke's Diner. I mentioned last year that we celebrated Thanksgiving at my uncle's diner (O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, CT) and how it had become a special tradition for us. Well, the reason it is so special is that because we almost lost it a few years ago. My uncle's diner burned down in 2006 (after the steamed cheeseburger machine was left on over night and sparked - ironically the maker of my favorite item at the diner). Because my uncle did not have fire insurance, the cost to rebuild was in the $350,000 range. Miraculously, almost half was raised through fundraising and donations (did I mention that O'Rourke's diner is like a Middletown and CT landmark?) the diner reopened in 2008 and we were able to resume our tradition.

Since it's reopening, the diner has continued to thrive and be a huge success. Not that it wasn't insanely popular before, but all I know is that everytime I drive by, there is a line stretched out on the sidewalk for people waiting to get in. Constant press from local media agencies and a spotlight on the Food Network doesn't hurt either. And of course, the main reason people love it is because my uncle is a phenomenal chef and just about everyone who has ever heard of the diner learns that quickly!

An addition to the "new" diner, reading "a hundred thousand welcomes" in irish gaelic

The diner has been in my mom's family since 1941 and I could never imagine not being able to go there. We even held our rehearsal dinner there the night before our wedding which was such a special night for us.

Anyway, last week Emma and I took a day trip back to the hometown and Emma got to visit the diner and Uncle Brian. Hopefully the first visit of many more to come!

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