OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) Laurie McDaniel and her finance Robbie DeVillier, owners of Kelly’s Meat Block & Diner, are all hands-on deck to repair the kitchen and dining room areas of their popular diner that was damaged by fire Tuesday night.
“Pizza Hut is who called. They saw the smoke. They kept smelling stuff, and then they saw it, and they called the fire department,” McDaniel said.
The couple was preparing for bed when they received a call from the diner manager.
McDaniel said she was in disbelief. The business had never had a fire in 40 years.
“We’re hoping it’s not too bad. We want to be up and running, cooking and selling plate lunches in the next day or so. We have a kitchen in the back, so we can do that. We just can’t operate in the diner and in the kitchen up here in the front. We have a great crew and we are ready. We are ready to start working again on the dinner side because those people depend on us. We have a lot of people that customers depend on us every day to be there, and we want to try to continue to do that.”
The grill, ovens, stoves, rice cookers, fryers, and everyday items were all destroyed in addition to the dining room. There is a lot of water damage on the diner’s side.
Many out-of-town people visit Kelly’s Diner, and locals pay for their plate lunches, hamburgers, home-cooked meals, and po-boys.
McDaniel says they pride themselves on their reputation for welcoming and appreciating customers.
“I know it makes the customers feel good when we can call them by their names. How are you today and we talk. We have a relationship with most of the customers that come in here, so I know that’s what keeps them coming back just because of that because of the service and the way we interact with everyone.”
As she reflects on the customers, she gets emotional.
“We love all our customers; we love the support we have gotten tons of phone calls and text messages.”
She is thankful for the support, the words of encouragement, and the prayers.
“We’re going to be up and running very shortly, so don’t cancel us out; we’re here to stay. The little fire is not going to hurt us,” she concluded.
The cause of the fire is unknown and is under investigation.