A much-awaited restaurant will open in Neosho today.

Without much fanfare at the start, Denny’s will open at 8 p.m. this evening in the 3001 Lusk Dr. location formerly occupied by Shoney’s.

“It will be a soft opening, we’re not going to do a grand opening until Aug. 14,” said Tim Richhart, general manager. Richhart, a Neosho native, is thrilled to bring Denny’s to his hometown.

Beginning with Denny’s in Joplin as a cook eight years ago, Richhart said he became a shift leader for about a year, served as an assistant manager for two years, and is now going on five years as a G.M.

“I’m very exited to be home,” he said. “I’m very excited to bring Denny’s to my hometown.”

Richhart said the restaurant can serve 136 people at one time, who will be serviced by 36 servers, 15 cooks, 10 dishwashers and three managers. He said experienced trainers from other Denny’s restaurants will work alongside the many new employees for the first week to provide support.

Richhart said the crew is prepared to meet the challenges.

“We are opening a brand new store, therefore my crew is brand new and not as seasoned as a normal Denny’s would be, so there will be some learning curves the first month,” he said. “So we are going to do our best to please everybody but we would appreciate a little patience our first month, because they are new, they are inexperienced. They are going to make mistakes, but we’ve worked real hard to train them, so I really honestly think we have a very good crew and we’re going to do really well.”

Richhart said the buzz in the community has been fantastic.

“Everybody’s excited! We’ve been training the last week, and people are constantly stopping by and seeing if we are open,” he said. “Everybody is really excited, and I think we are going to do very well here.”

Renovating the building from its former use, Richhart said the original walls are basically all that remain.

“We basically gutted it out and started all over,” he said. “Completely new floors, completely new booths. Kitchen equipment is all brand new, everything is brand new.”

Richhart said Denny’s will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. He said they are also famous for breakfasts.

“We serve breakfast 24/7.” Richhart continued, “Our whole menu is 24/7. Come in at three o’clock in the morning and we’ll get you a steak and eggs. No matter what time it is, if it’s on our menu, you are able to get it.”

Richhart said Denny’s is also well known for a menu to fit anyone’s budget.

“We have a variety of prices and a variety of menus, no matter the size of your budget there is always something there for you,” he said. “We have a $2, $4, $6, $8 menu, we have our regular core menu, and we also have an LTO menu, which is limited time offer, it’s got our specials, and every three months we renew that menu and once a year we renew our whole menu.”

Richhart said Denny’s will make a big deal about its presence in Neosho with their grand opening celebration on Monday.

“That’s when we’ll do the big advertisement, coupons, specials, just get it known that we are here,” he said. “We’re just excited to be here and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody and we’re looking forward to meeting everybody in the community, seeing some familiar faces and seeing some new faces.”