The Melrose Diner is not being demolished

Recent rumors about the demise of the Melrose Diner are, to paraphrase Mark Twain, greatly exaggerated!

Late on Friday, July 1, 2022, posts started circulating around social media that the Melrose Diner would be demolished. The first tweet included a link to the demolition permit. That began much debate and cross-posting about whether the entire site or just a piece was to be demolished.

To clarify the matter, Passyunk Post’s publisher Joseph Marino reached out to Rachel Kanbouris, evening shift manager at the diner. Kanbouris confirmed the diner itself was not threatened. Instead, adjacent parcels west of the main building and baking area that once served as an employee parking lot, are being sold off.

Kanbouris said she is taking to social media to spread the news that the diner will remain. The Post also reached out to Newbold CDC president Tim Lydiak who said he was “unaware of any sale of the main diner building.”

Recently, the diner recently underwent some changes. These included a refurbishing of the booths and counter seats, menu changes, and new “barista” style coffee makers.

The new barista-style coffee makers. Photo: Joseph F. Marino.
New upholstery at The Melrose. Photo: Joseph F. Marino.
The Melrose was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Company of Bayonne, New Jersey. The diner was constructed to the plans of owner Richard Kubach, a 33-year old German immigrant. It opened for business March 18, 1940. According to a history of the diner compiled by the Smithsonian:

Kubach had been the owner of the predecessor diner at the same address which he had bought five years earlier and had quickly developed into a successful business. The new diner with 54 seats had more than twice the capacity of its predecessor, cost $15,000 (less a 10% discount to Kubach for his planning) and was supplemented by a kitchen, bakery and storeroom. Under Kubach’s skilled and enlightened management, the new diner rapidly acquired a reputation for excellent food and good service. It became a community fixture, open 24 hours a day and attracting industrial workers and merchants from the area as well as families and young people in the evenings.

Hopefully the sale of the Melrose remains a tempest in a teapot—pun intended—for many years to come!