The food may have been great, but one woman remembers something else entirely - the kindness and generosity of owner O'Rourke.
Eleanor Lanmcey used to do paper balloon fundraisers for Connecticut's Children Medical Hospital. The paper balloons are commonly seen in Wal-Mart and K-Mart. In 1986, Lanmcey was turned down by every business that she solicited in the New Haven area.
Undeterred, she decided that no matter what, she was going to get someone to say yes. The person who said yes was Brian O'Rourke.
Lanmcey returned months later to find over 2,000 paper balloons all over the restaurant. She took a picture of the diner, and it helped Lanmcey sell more. She said this led to over 250 million being sold in the country in 20 years.
"Brian started it all," Lanmcey said. She said many times, Brian would give people free cups of coffee to donate money. Brian himself sold 5,100 paper balloons.
Now, she hoped people would return the favor.
"I am going to hope people will help him like how he helped people."
Lanmcey said a collection has been started for Brain and his family. And she returned the favor by being the first person to donate to his fund.
So many people want to help, in fact, that a Web site has been set up. People can go to www.orourkesdiner.com. Neil Alan, owner of Pelton's Home Health Care Centers, made the Web site, complete with a message board for all those who want to help Brian and his family. It will also give information on how to make donations.
We don't know if Brian will rebuild the diner, but if he does, we want to help and we think you might want to also!
By registering on this website, you will be contacted about any future efforts to resurrect O'Rourke's Diner.