Loyal customers, employees await Melrose Diner's return

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On Thursday morning, customers walked up to Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia hoping to get breakfast.

All they got was disappointment as they found out the diner was closed due to a fire.

But they may not have to wait long for it to reopen.

One employee who was helping crews do repair work said the diner could be open in a matter of days, not ruling out possibly of opening as early as Monday.

It would be a welcome sight to customers and to former employees like Arlan Ask, who worked at the diner for 42 years.

"I'm surprise (by the fire)," Ask said. "I should have come around here yesterday evening when I first heard there was a problem."



Construction workers started sifting through the damage early Wednesday. Much of that damage is in the roof and one corner of the diner's ceiling.

Current employee Ernest Houston says the damage isn't as bad as it looks.

Houston knows the diner like the back of his hand since he's worked there for 63 years. He was initially hired by the Melrose Diner's original owner who opened the establishment in 1935.

There's a different owner now, but the one thing that's never changed is the loyalty of their customers.

"We had people, I swear, they would eat three meals a day here," said Ask.

No one was hurt in Wednesday's fire, which firefighters think was an electrical fire that started in the roof.

Customers and employees, past and present, are hoping for quick reopening.

"I'm sure they'll get on this. No problem," Ask said.

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Owner hopes to reopen Melrose Diner next week after fire. TaRhonda Thomas reports during Action News Mornings, July 25, 2019.



A sign on the door says employees of the Melrose are working at the Broad Street Diner, which has the same owner, until reopening.
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