Sept. 11 marks the return of the landmark Melrose Diner at 15th Street and Snyder Avenue after a fire in late July.

The day before, owner Michael Petrogiannis and staff were tidying up, setting up the computer system, and training. The 24-hour diner will see its first customers at 8 a.m. and will offer a 50% discount on food for the first 12 hours — the “surprise” that he alluded to during an interview last week.

Petrogiannis said that the damage was more extensive than first believed and that the dining-room ceiling had to be replaced. As it is made of stainless steel, the work and fabrication were complicated, he said.

He said smoke was noticed in a far corner of the dining room, on the Snyder Avenue side.

The dining room looks pretty much as it did before, a mix of old-time South Philadelphia kitsch and a few gaudy 21st-century touches, such as bold wall lighting that changes colors.

During the shutdown, he offered jobs to Melrose employees at his other diners, particularly at the Broad Street Diner at Broad and Ellsworth Streets.

A few waitresses left in the interim, so one Broad Street waitress — Rebecca Salyer — will get her big break. She’s now at the Melrose.

Michael Petrogiannis, owner of Melrose Diner.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Michael Petrogiannis, owner of Melrose Diner.
Staff gathers at a counter at Melrose Diner during training before the Sept. 11, 2019, reopening after a fire.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Staff gathers at a counter at Melrose Diner during training before the Sept. 11, 2019, reopening after a fire.
Owner Michael Petrogiannis and staff at Melrose Diner.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Owner Michael Petrogiannis and staff at Melrose Diner.
Melrose Diner on its West Passyunk Avenue side.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Melrose Diner on its West Passyunk Avenue side.
Melrose Diner at 15th Street and Snyder Avenue, on Sept. 7, a few nights before its scheduled reopening on Sept. 11, six weeks after a fire.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Melrose Diner at 15th Street and Snyder Avenue, on Sept. 7, a few nights before its scheduled reopening on Sept. 11, six weeks after a fire.
An inside look at the aftermath of a fire at Melrose Diner that happened shortly after 6pm Wednesday evening at the intersection of 15th and Synder Avenue in South Philadelphia on Thursday morning, July 25, 2019.
ANTHONY PEZZOTTI / Staff Photographer
An inside look at the aftermath of a fire at Melrose Diner that happened shortly after 6pm Wednesday evening at the intersection of 15th and Synder Avenue in South Philadelphia on Thursday morning, July 25, 2019.