December 22, 2022
Ever since demolition permits were issued during the summer for both the Broad Street Diner and the Melrose Diner, there's been an air of uncertainty around the future of two of South Philly's classic spots to get a bite to eat.
The Broad Street Diner, which was renovated and reopened in 2011 after years of dormancy, is on track to be torn down to make way for a five-story building that will include 29 rental units and ground-floor commercial space.
A zoning permit for the new building at 1135-41 S. Broad St., near Ellsworth Street, was issued this week, Rising Real Estate reported. The building will stand 45 feet tall, taking advantage of the city's low income housing and green roof bonuses for added residential density. That means a portion of the apartments will either be priced more affordably than the others, or the developer will pay into the city's Housing Trust Fund.
The Broad Street Diner property currently has a parking lot, which is convenient for customers, but not the most efficient use of valuable space at a location that's a short walk from SEPTA's Ellsworth-Federal stop on the Broad Street Line. With commercial space planned for the ground floor of the new building, it's entirely possible that could be a revamped Broad Street Diner with apartments above it.
After fire at the Melrose Diner, located about a mile south at 1501-1527 Snyder Ave., owner Michael Petrogiannis said the demolition permit pulled for that building does not spell the end for the diner. Petrogiannis, who also owns the Broad Street Diner, said adjacent structures would be torn down and that the Melrose "will stay."
With increasingly fewer diners in Philadelphia — the Little Pete's in Center City, the Trolley Car, the Ridge Diner and the Oak Lane Diner all have closed over the last decade or so — the fate of the Broad Street and Melrose diners carries extra weight for those who savor that type of atmosphere. The Oregon Diner, which dates back to the 1960s, is still going strong in South Philly. Northeast Philly also has a number of classic diners, from the Mayfair Diner to the Country Club Diner – both of which are also owned Petrogiannis.
A timeline for the demolition of the Broad Street Diner – which remains open – is not yet clear.