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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Rock Cafe re-opens, doesn't miss beat

  • Even with construction work ongoing and the slew of typical opening-day rigmarole to contend with, the Rock Cafe in Stroud re-opened its doors Friday morning one year after a fire severely damage the iconic eatery’s interior.Dawn Welch, owner of the cafe, said Friday afternoon that the restaurant’...
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  • Even with construction work ongoing and the slew of typical opening-day rigmarole to contend with, the Rock Cafe in Stroud re-opened its doors Friday morning one year after a fire severely damage the iconic eatery’s interior.
    Dawn Welch, owner of the cafe, said Friday afternoon that the restaurant’s patio isn’t finished yet and that the fountain drink machine hasn’t come in, either.
    Just days earlier, most of the interior seating wasn’t even installed.
    But that didn’t stop her from opening up at 6 a.m. Friday morning.
    “Around 9 a.m., people just started showing up,” Welch said. “We’ve never had trouble filling up the seats and things don’t seem to have changed.”
    As for the headache of operating a restaurant that’s not even fully built, Welch, the cafe’s owner since 1993, dismissed the stress involved.
    “You open every day and you just put out the fires along the way,” she said just after Friday’s lunch rush had passed. “Today hasn’t been any different.”
    The Rock Cafe, which sits along Route 66, was gutted by a fire last May after it had closed for the evening. There were no injuries and after an investigation officials couldn’t determine the cause but said the blaze did not appear suspicious.
    Although the interior and roof were complete losses, Welch was able to salvage most of the old rock walls, which had been erected in 1939.
    Welch expects her fountain drink machine in any day and the patio also will be complete soon, she said.
    The Rock Cafe is located at 114 W. Main in Stroud, along the “Mother Road,” and was also a source of inspiration for the Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars.”
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    Andrew Knittle may be reached at 214-3926.
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