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Ruby Diner: Fast, modern designer diner

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

By Anita Merritt

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THE look and feel of the classic American diner is being recreated in Exeter with the opening of trendy and retro fast-food restaurant Ruby Modern Diner.

What was the former Effings food hall in Queen Street, has been transformed into a contemporary diner with red faux leather booths, reclaimed wood tables, art work and retro touches.

Ruby is Modern Diner's flagship restaurant and is an independently owned business. It opens its doors on Monday, January 28. The main concept has been to bring the modern dining together with the best produce the Westcountry has to offer under one roof.

Erin Allgrove and Dicky Harrison, founders and managing directors of Ruby Modern Diner, reveal their ethos is encompassing fresh, good-quality, locally sourced, fast food.

"Fast food and diners have been around for a long time, " explained Erin. "But we wanted to avoid kitsch and give it a contemporary feel.

"People can come in and order a drink and some food and take it away, or sit in. We just wanted to make it as easy as possible for people.

"For Exeter, we thought it would be good to serve several things under one roof."

All the beef for the burgers is being supplied by mid-Devon farmer Roger Pennington who is rearing ruby red cattle especially.

And keen to introduce new flavours to people's palettes, in addition to burgers the diner will also serve up some gourmet street-food numbers popular in the Big Smoke while bringing super food salads and bagels into the mix as well.

Vegetarians are catered for too, with two burgers to choose from.

Dicky explained: "Ruby has been a year in the making and we are excited about finally opening the doors to the people of Exeter. We're bringing some exciting new flavours to the city, including smoky pulled pork, hot salt beef bagels, hard shakes and hot waffles."

Erin added: "Our Ruby Red beef comes from a single source in mid-Devon and is used for our hamburgers and hot salt beef. Our fluffy egg-glazed brioche buns are baked by Emma Parkin at Emma's Bread and we've worked with her to perfect the New York style recipe.

"Our gelato style ice cream is from Otter Valley dairy, near Honiton, our cheese from Hawkdrige, near Coleridge, and all our pork and chicken is locally sourced and free range.

"We've worked closely with all our suppliers and can't wait to bring our fresh approach to fast food to Exeter."

As well as being proud of the food they will be serving up, Dicky and Erin can be equally proud of transformation that has taken place inside the striking, Grade II listed building, which they "fell in love with" the minute they walked through the door.

"The building really suits our concept," said Dicky. "We could see our vision straight away. It's the biggest restaurant in the city, but it needed bringing to life. It felt like a ghost so it was about putting energy and some textures back into it. It was about taking it up to the level it should be, but we had to match the building, rather than impress our style on it. It was about letting the building have its own voice and identity.

"It now looks amazing and we can't wait to hear what our customers think."

Ruby Modern Diner will be open from 8am until 10pm most evenings and until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will open on Sunday's at 10am.

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