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Business view: From OX to Ed's Easy Diner development catering for everybody's tastes

By John Mulgrew

The Michelin-starred aspirations and fine dining ambience of Belfast's OX are certainly more than arm's length away from elbows on tables, chrome-lined benches of a US-style chain diner.

But both have found a definite market here, with the success of family chain restaurants and burger bars becoming a growing theme across Northern Ireland.

The latest restaurant chain to bring US-style diner food here is Ed's Easy Diner.

It's a big success in its own right, going from just three outlets to more than 30 in around six years.

It's on the coat-tails of shakes and burger joint, Eddie Rocket's, which recently launched its first restaurant here.

And Barack Obama's favourite burger joint - Five Guys - is also set to join the raft of new joints.

It's been dubbed a "no-frills burger joint" focused on serving burgers and fries in a "clean, friendly environment". Of course, all of that isn't for everyone.

And on the other end of the scale is OX.

The Oxford Street dining experience hasn't looked back in two years, building up a reputation and loyal fan base.

Its latest pop-up venture is taking Alain Kerloc'h and his team to the very bottom of the island - showing off their winning formula to hungry diners in the Republic.

It mixes its eclectic combination of Northern Ireland produce, along with a wide-range of wine, carefully paired and matched across an ever-changing seasonal menu.

The Observer's Jay Rayner said "it's about top-quality ingredients to which the best things have been done".

High praise for OX from a gourmand who has heaped both lavish praise and cutting criticism on some of the world's top restaurants.

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