July 13, 2023
The iconic Melrose Diner in South Philly will live to flip another pancake after all.
A new zoning permit issued for the site of the 67-year-old diner shows plans to build a five-story, 94-unit apartment building that includes space for a newly built diner, according to a report from the Rising Real Estate blog. That means that while the retro-style, neon-adorned diner car structure that has long housed the Melrose Diner will be demolished, the classic eatery will be rebuilt.
The fate of the Melrose has been in question since last summer, when a kitchen fire shuttered the diner just a few weeks after news of a demolition permit for the property surfaced. Although owner Michael Petrogiannis denied that the diner was going to be razed for good, speculation continued to swirl as the building remained closed for the last year.
The blueprints on the new zoning permit lay concerns about the restaurant’s demise to rest with two words labeling part of the new structure: “future diner.” The blueprint of the planned development, which covers the entire triangular swath of land at Passyunk and Snyder avenues, also shows an area dedicated to outdoor dining.
Uncertainty about the fate of the Melrose Diner followed what has felt to many like the slow death of the classic Philly diner scene. Over the last few years, beloved local greasy spoon eateries like Little Pete’s, Midtown III, Oak Lane Diner, Mt. Airy’s Trolley Car, South Street Diner and Ridge Diner have all closed their doors. The Broad Street Diner, also owned by Melrose proprietor Petrogiannis, is similarly set to be demolished and replaced by an apartment building.