Wait times exceeding an hour did not stop people from trying the the Rox Diner, Newton's newest breakfast and lunch spot, this past weekend. The West Roxbury diner opened its second location last Wednesday and word got out quickly.
“Its been real busy, its been great,” said Chris Smith, general manager for Rox Diner in Newton, located in the former home of Taco Bell and KFC. “It has greatly exceeded any and all expectations we had.”
Co-owners Paul Louderback and John Fortin started the original Rox Diner in August of 2007. It did not take long for the diner’s home-made breakfast and lunch food items such as specialty benedict, french toast, pancakes, clubs, and salads to gain wide popularity in the area. Now, just over four years later, a second location is already taking off.
For Louderback, who was born and raised in Newton just down the street in Newton Centre, many of the patrons entering the new location at 335 Walnut Street in Newtonville are old friends, family members, coaches, former Newton South High School sports teammates, and neighbors.
“It is pretty cool because I see a lot of people that are old familiar faces,” he said. “It’s nice, people I knew from when I was like 10-years-old are still around.”
Many of the city's politicians have made appearances at the new diner, including Mayor Setti Warren.
Louderback said saw a "for lease" sign in the window of the former Taco Bell and KFC and jumped at the opportunity. “It was the right day where it looked beautiful and I had that vision,” he said. Louderback quickly called his business partner John, who fell in love with the spot as well.
“It was a great opportunity,” said Smith. “It is a great neighborhood, right down the street from (Newton North High School) and the center of town.”
Heading into the weekend the two owners did not know how busy the diner would be. The restaurant had been busy during the first three days, but had done no advertising prior to its opening with hopes that to create a “nice, slow, steady build,” said Smith.
Regardless, owners and management worked extra hours Friday night, cutting vegetables and preparing the food. This strategy paid off. “It was just non- stop all day. It was a good two days with all hands on deck and the two of us,” said Louderback.
Smith said the city of Newton has greeted Rox with open arms. “The people are here have been so great and so excited. Thats why we really wanted to make sure we hit a home run on this one.”
Rox Diner is open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., 7 days a week. The diner will eventually be open for dinner in the coming weeks.
Derek McLean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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