By MATTHEW WILLIAMS
Democrat Staff Writer
PORTSMOUTH — Gilley’s PM Lunch has finally acknowledged it’s
place on the "e-Coast" by taking up residence in cyberspace.
A business that began as a horse-drawn lunch cart in 1912,
Gilley’s official Web site opened at
www.gilleyspmlunch.com about three weeks ago, said
Steve Kennedy, who owns the Portsmouth icon with his wife, Gina.
Gilley’s PM Lunch at 175 Fleet St. in Portsmouth now has
another address, on the Internet at
At this point the site contains basic information about the
downtown fast-food joint, including pictures, directions and a
"I figured it was about time," he said. "I like being forced to
Kennedy explained how a business runs in cycles and it’s
important to make changes, even if their done with a hint of
reluctance, in order to keep up with the times. The last major
change occurred about 10 years ago with the addition of french
fries to the menu.
He plans on revamping the site over the next few weeks to
include features like a message board or some sort of forum where
people could talk to each other.
"It (Gilley’s) always seems to be some sort of meeting place
for people that haven’t seen each other in a long time," he said.
In addition, Kennedy said he would like to post upcoming events
on the site like a hot dog eating contest he is planning this
summer to raise money for a local charity
"I might even get a Web cam for Friday nights," he added.
The original Gilley’s lunch cart was pulled into Market Square
by horse each evening and parked in front of North Church. The
Gilley’s cart that stands today was made in 1940 by the Worcester
Diner Co. in Massachusetts and is just one of five built, the only
one remaining in full operation today, according to the site.
Although permanently situated after being moved to its present
Fleet Street location in June 1974., the truck that towed the
diner is still attached to the front of the structure and the
interior has remained untouched.
Just over a month ago, Wells, Maine resident John Perry painted
a 12-foot tall, 20-foot long mural behind the restaurant depicting
downtown Portsmouth in 1912 complete with a horse-drawn Gilley’s
The historic diner is named after longtime employee Ralph
"Gilley" Gilbert. Gilley served dogs and burgers from the diner’s
tiny kitchen for more than 50 years.
"An icon in Portsmouth history, Gilley was known for his
flawless memory, kindness, and generosity," according to the site.
"He greeted his customers by name, had a good word for everyone,
and never let the lack of funds prevent a hungry customer from
eating. Gilley died in 1986 but his name and fame continues."