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Pembroke eateries open for the hearty

PEMBROKE - A handful of businesses along Main Street were undaunted by this weekend's blizzard.

Cut into mounds of snow were tiny walkways leading to the front doors of diners and restaurants, each sporting "open" signs.

Inside, business wasn't booming by the afternoon - many of the businesses were empty or close to it - but regardless of the snow, the virtual lack of parking and the fact that many of their patrons were still struggling to get their cars out of their driveways, thing were carrying on - in some cases surprisingly well.

"Business is actually not bad today," said Famous Village Pizza manager Josh Riley. "It was a surprise. I thought we were going to be very slow, but a lot of people are at home or driving around."

Another employee noted that with deliveries, Famous Village Pizza was even seeing a boom as families sat back after a day of plowing and shoveling.

"We don't expect that to last, though," said Bryan Miner. "Once that dies down, I'm probably going to check out."

Down the road at the Rock On Diner, employees had a similar story.

"Surprisingly, quite a few people came in throughout the day. People were coming out," said employee Katie Mallahan.

"We got some people," said manager Matt Abrams. "Not a ton of people, but people were coming out.

"A lot of people couldn't get their cars out and were just walking over . We had a lot of people call and say, 'Oh, you guys are open?' Then they walked outside and couldn't get their cars out of the snow. It's a little rough out there today."

Employees could empathize.

"We've been working on it all day," Mallahan said. "None of the sidewalks were going. I live up the street. I walked over and there were no sidewalks open the whole way."

"I live upstairs," said Riley. "I come out of my house at about 10 a.m. and it was just a mess."

For the Rock On Diner, toughing out New England weather is just a business philosophy.

"I've been working for Larry (Williams, the diner's owner) for 11 or 12 years, and we've never closed the store," said Abrams.

"We used to be down in Wakefield, and that giant storm in '04? We were open. His concept is everybody else closes. Nowhere else to go? We're open."

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