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Big plates tempt diners to Ikea

IT'S the modern equivalent of the Penny Dinner -- and at €2 for a basic lunch, it has one restaurant bursting at the seams.

Cheap lunches and full Irish breakfasts for €1.95 are filling the 550-seat restaurant at Ikea in the Dublin suburb of Ballymun from morning to night.

While trendy restaurants are closing every day, the Swedish bistro in the huge furniture store is cleaning up.

According to staff members, many of the regular clientele who travel to Ikea have no intention of buying furniture -- instead they've come for the bargain basement meals.

At €2.25 a pop, the Ikea euro breakfast meal is enormous and consists of eight different servings of food.

"I have the bus pass and I get the Ikea bus from Phibsboro several days a week," says retired gas fitter Dan Hoey. "They do a great breakfast for next to nothing, and there's always a great buzz about the place. There are a good few regular faces in the restaurant every day, and at this stage I'd know most of them."

Another regular patron is arts graduate Margaret Dillon who lives in Drumcondra.

"The prices are fab and you can get as much coffee as you like for free," she says. "It's actually cheaper than cooking at home, not to mention cleaning up afterwards. I don't know how they make a profit because the restaurant employs a huge staff as well," says Margaret.

Sunday Independent