South Philadelphia's Melrose Diner now open for outdoor dining

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia reopened on Friday morning for outdoor dining. The restaurant's regulars were thrilled.

"We're back," said Jimmy Toppi of South Philadelphia.

Toppi may not have been in his usual seat inside, but he's been coming to the diner so long, it feels like family.

"70 years. My mother took me here when I was 2 and I would get ice cream," Toppi said.

Henry Brumbaugh happily remembered the diner's jingle.

"Everybody that knows goes to the Melrose," he said.

Brumbaugh sat with his family just days after his 92nd birthday, now that the restaurant is offering outdoor seating.

"I love it here. We've been coming here over 30 years," Brumbaugh said.

"I like being back, seeing my friends again. I called all my friends last night to tell them," said Marie Brumbaugh.

There are disposable menus for customers. A tent is set up in the parking lot, where the tables are socially distanced.

"We spaced out the tables six feet. We're intending on keeping it this way even when we go to 50%. So folks will be able to eat indoors or eat outdoors when that becomes available," said Gus Petrogiannis of Melrose Diner.

It's been a rough year for the diner, which had to close after a fire last July. They reopened in September, only to close again for the pandemic.

"It's been a roller coaster, but the community has been great," Petrogiannis said.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.