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Today's Clayton Gets Touch of Past

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CLAYTON — A shiny wave of nostalgia blew into Johnston County Thursday -- and it will soon be open for business. It's a new restaurant for Clayton. The owners hope to attract customers who appreciate a little atmosphere with their meal.

The Rockin' Comet Diner rolled into town after an eight-month wait for restaurant partners Mary Ann Domenico and Ben Merrill. They wanted their diner built the old fashioned way.

"All the diners were built in modules and were moved in modules," Merrill said. "We could have stick built this but it would have not had the same authenticity."

The six-piece, 50's style diner arrived by interstate all the way from Dallas, Georgia. For such extra wide loads, state law requires a trooper escort, some might say a blue light special delivering blue plate specials.

"We'll have two blue plate specials everyday. Four fresh vegetables everyday," Domenico declares.

"Plus we're putting in a hand-dipped ice cream fountain," continues Merrill.

Not on the menu, but certainly part of the deal will be checkerboard floors, glass bricks and quilted stainless steel. All in keeping with Clayton's Highway 70 beautification program.

"It's amazing that the town manager here said the shinier the better," recalls Merrill.

And there will be neon, lots of neon. Even a neon clock out front.

"And it says time to eat, that was the original stuff you know?" Merrill laughs.

There will also be a neon coffee cup out by the road.

"On it we've just got 'EAT,' you know. And that says it all to us, you know," Merrill says, chuckling.

The owners expect to be open for business by late July.

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Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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