As it is announced a Karen's Diner pop-up is coming to Lancashire, here is the lowdown on what happened when Melanie Disley braved the Manchester branch...

Visit a restaurant and pay good money to be abused and have menus chucked at you?

I admit, it didn’t immediately strike me as a must-do night out.

On a normal day, I can pass Karen’s Diner on Bury New Road in Prestwich four times. On the school run Karen is there winking at me from beneath her side fringe, daring me to come in and experience "great food and terrible service".

MORE: Restaurant where customers pay to be insulted staff is coming to this Lancs town

Lancashire Telegraph:

Leave me be Karen, I’m happy with a pizza at Cuckoo or a hanging kebab at The Woodthorpe. 

I drive past on the way home from work and see the paper-hat wearing brave souls, huddled outside having a fag to steady their nerves.

Since it opened in spring last year, a steady stream of famous faces have visited Karen’s Manchester (Prestwich), including Davina McCall, the Malones off Gogglebox and Corrie’s Kym Marsh and Antony Cotton.

But it was my cousin’s son who finally convinced me to take the plunge and head to Karen’s. At 15, he’d seen it on TikTok (where else?) and was more than keen to go.

Cast your mind back to being 15, was there anything worse than going to a restaurant with your folks and relatives? Boring.

But this is Karen’s Diner, not the Beefeater or Pizza Express – which once stood in Kaz’s place.

Following the rule that under 16s are not advised to visit after 7pm, I booked a table for 5.15pm on a Saturday – two months in advance to even get that slot!

Lancashire Telegraph:

It’s a truly unique experience, even before you walk through the door.

All week, me and my cousin were messaging each other. "Have you seen those videos on TikTok/ what are you gonna wear/ Aargh, I’m scared!"

I think it’s the first time we’ve ever turned up on time for anything, not a minute early or a minute late (after a couple of pints of Dutch courage in the Friendship).

In we went, the booking was in my name so I sheepishly announced our arrival. Thank goodness none of us are veggie or vegan and I told them we weren’t celebrating anything.

Our brilliantly rude server Amber took our drinks order which arrived with one bottle of beer missing, prompting my husband to ask after its whereabouts – to be told to get it himself.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Next came our paper hats, with a variety of insults. The one which tickled us the most was teenage Louie being tarnished "cheapest drug dealer in the playground".

We placed our order, which I had to write down - a combination of burgers and fries which arrived in diner-style baskets.

The food, for me, was definitely a sideshow. I ordered the Royale Karen – grilled chicken breast, truffle mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion, guacamole and salsa (£12). It was a little on the dry side but nothing a bit of extra mayo couldn’t fix.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The Royale Karen

My other half had the Karen’s In-Between – beef patty, beef brisket, chicken breast, burger sauce, bacon, lettuce, pickles, cheese, onion rings, hashbrown (he dared to ask for it without BBQ sauce) for a whopping £22. But he says it was very good.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Karen’s In-Between burger

The teenager enjoyed The Basic Karen (£13) and the Milkin’ it Karen – a fried buttermilk chicken breast was another popular choice (£12.50). All served with fries or salad. The rest of the menu has you covered for pizza, hot dogs and sides.

As people got dragged up from their tables around me, I was so engrossed in the humiliation, I mean entertainment, that I kept forgetting to eat my food.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Cajun strips with garlic mayo - £7

I was really surprised at the number of young children in there, who looked like they were having an absolute ball. But with lots of colourful language and adult themes, I’d stick to McDonald’s for the kiddies. One unfortunate young lass had "move b****" yelled at her. If it’s like that before 7pm, I can only imagine what goes down after 7pm!

My challenge was to take part in a dance off with another diner. I tried – and failed – to strut my stuff to My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas. The other woman did her thing to "My Neck, My Back" and wiped the floor with me. She had some serious moves.

WATCH: Hilarious video as Grandma visits Karen's Diner

And in the blink of an eye, it was over. As a party of five, we had our table for one hour and 15 minutes. Then Amber came circling with the bill, which came to a lofty £250 including tip which was more than deserved. It must be exhausting working at Karen’s!

Lancashire Telegraph:

We had cocktails and a couple of rounds of shots, we got what we were given and who knows how much they cost. One round tasted like the shots you get for free on the strip in Tenerife. The bill wasn’t itemised and I wasn’t about to ask for a breakdown.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Kavos 2004 called, it wants its drinks back

So, was it worth the wait? Absolutely! I'm still laughing about it now. Pick an outfit that's least likely to get you ridiculed, round up your crew and head to Karen’s Diner – just leave the kids at home.