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The Daily Review/ Jaclyn Breaux
Gene Hillen, right, owner of the new Morgan City restaurant PressBox, is working hard with PressBox employee Donavan Francisco, left, to get everything ready to open the doors to the public.

New restaurant will kick off, hoping to connect with local sports scene

This football season, you’re invited to the PressBox.
Local resident Gene Hillen is working on opening a destination that caters to our local sports and the families that participate in them. The restaurant will be called the PressBox, and it will be at 7420 La. 182 East in Morgan City. No opening date has been set.
Hillen, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bossier Parish Community College, has spent just under three years as the manager/trainer and district manager of Waffle House locations in Houma, Gray and Morgan City. Before that, Hillen spent 15 years with law enforcement in Bossier Parish, almost 12 of which were spent as the assistant chief of police in Benton.
Hillen envisions a family-oriented restaurant that will cater to our residents, with a big focus on youth sports. His 80-seat facility will offer seven televisions broadcasting different sporting events and a projector he is planning to project local games by streaming KWBJ’s live feed of the Game of the Week on Friday nights during football season.
His plan is to also be able to replay the event so “the kids can come get something to eat and watch the game they just played with mom and dad,” Hillen said.
Hillen feels a personal connection with sports since he volunteered his time coaching wrestling through a church as well as baseball and football through the Bossier Parks and Recreation Department. He is working to create a place where families feel welcome and he’s incorporating some of his Waffle House background by offering a full breakfast menu during all hours of operation.
Other menu items will include sports-bar type foods such as wings, fries, sandwiches and burgers. Names of some of the menu items follow the sports theme; there is a first base, second base, third base and grand slam burger.
Names of the menu items also take on a personal touch. Hillen is giving some of the plates that will be offered names after the regular customers he got to know while working at the Waffle House.
One customer in particular was really close to his heart that came in often for coffee. This customer Hillen describes as “a great man” that was supportive of his new venture, but passed away recently and will not get to see it. When patrons visit PressBox, they will see that coffee on the menu is labeled Pop’s coffee. It’s Hillen’s nod of remembrance to a man he will miss.
Hillen said his first motivation was to give our locals a place to hang out and watch the game, but he admitted to an even more personal motivation as well. Hillen’s father suffered a stroke and is suffering from dementia, but still enjoys watching sports on television. Hillen would like PressBox to be a place he can “bring his dad that gets him out of his house” and lets him do something he can still enjoy.
PressBox’s hours of operation will be 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and Thursday-Saturday 24 hours. The opening date will be announced soon through their Facebook page. They are taking applications now.

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