The Rinkha at Ballystrudder was transported back to the dance hall days recently as the shop unveiled its new cafe.
The stylish and elegant cafe was opened by showband and radio legend George Jones, ably supported by some fantastic swing dancers and the brilliant sounds of Deluxe.
A facepainter was also onhand to keep the children entertained.
There was a great atmosphere in the shop, with hundreds of people turning up for the grand opening, and the music and dancing went on for hours.
The cafe itself is decked out with real wood tables, comfortable chairs and sofas and dressed with lots of pictures of the bygone era – you may even recognise someone you know in the old dances, pictured on the wall. Another thoughtful touch is that the original dancefloor has been lovingly restored and laid in the cafe, so guests at the opening enjoyed having the first dance on the historic floor in 50 years.
A large picture of William Hawkins Snr, next to his old ice cream maker, is a tribute to the history of this much-loved shop.
His son, William Hawkins, the current owner of the Rinkha, said: “It’s been a fantastic night for everyone, and a really exciting time for us. Over the years, the Rinkha has evolved to meet the needs of our loyal local customers and visitors.
“This new cafe, we hope, will be great for the local community. We look forward to welcoming folk in for great quality coffee, tea, sandwiches and of course, ice cream sundaes and sweets!”
Ross Hawkins said: “We’re really looking forward to getting customer feedback and seeing what everyone makes of the new place. We think it looks fantastic, and we hope our customers do too.
“We still have alot of settling in to do, but we are certain to maintain our usual high standardthroughout all of our produce – and we hope our customers will come back time and time again for a relaxing coffee break with friends.
“We have also lots of other ideas planned for throughout the year, so watch this space, or look out for us on Facebook!”