Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia, damaged by fire Wednesday during the dinner rush, could reopen as soon as next weekend, owner Michael Petrogiannis said.
Firefighters quickly contained the one-alarm fire. Employees and customers noticed smoke coming from a vent in an exterior-facing wall at the 24-hour diner, which opened in 1954 on the site of a former police and fire station at 15th Street and Snyder Avenue.
No injuries were reported.
Petrogiannis said he believed that the fire’s cause was electrical.
» READ MORE: Kevin Bacon yearns for South Philly’s Melrose Diner
“When I walked in, I thought it was bad,” Petrogiannis said, noting that upon further review, he believed that water and smoke damage would take several days to repair.
Petrogiannis said he would relocate more than a dozen employees to his other restaurants, including the nearby Broad Street Diner, during repairs. Petrogiannis owns 10 diners as well as the swankier La Veranda near Penn’s Landing.
The Melrose dates to 1935, when German immigrant Richard W. Kubach Sr. rented a building at 1610 W. Passyunk Ave., outfitted it with furnishings bought from the Salvation Army, and opened a 19-seat diner. Kubach got the name from a brand of canned tomatoes that featured a rose on its label.
» READ MORE: Phila’s famed Melson Diner changes hands