The cinnamon rolls are back in the deep fryer and all seems right on 39th Street. Mama's 39th Street Diner (3906 Waddell) reopened yesterday, nearly nine months after a fire gutted the interior of the popular breakfast spot.
"It's been great. We're doing really well. The energy for us is seeing those customers come back in that door," front of the house manager Tiffany Franco said during an afternoon break yesterday.
The first customer was an out-of-towner with a familiar story. He had seen Mama's on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and wanted to try the food that celebrity chef Guy Fieri raved about on The Food Network.
"He didn't even know about the fire. But he told us he was in town for one more day and promised he would be back tomorrow," says Franco.
The second diner was a regular, as were many of the dozens who ate or stopped by to wish the crew at Mama's well yesterday morning. They were greeted by a new color scheme and a updated dining room. The fire was costly, but it also allowed owners Ira Auerbach and Jan Imber to expand on the work they started when they renovated the former Nichols Lunch back in 2008. The bright blue walls are now taupe in what Franco called a "more classic diner look."
"Everybody has been in love with it. It's got a fresher look. Everybody thinks it's bigger, it just looks bigger," Franco said.
Mama's has also trimmed down it's menu. If it was a hardcover, it's now a paperback. Although, Franco admitted it would still seem like a big menu to the uninitiated. The corned beef hash and the deep fried cinnamon rolls are still there. While the menu doesn't have 66 printed omelet choices, regulars can still ask for their favorites and the kitchen can rustle them up. One new addition is the cluckin' breakfast -- chicken wings and waffles.
Mama's will now be open 24 hours on the weekends. So you can eat at the diner from 7 a.m. on Fridays to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
"I'll probably sleep in the office a few nights," Franco joked.
But she thinks there will be demand for late night or early morning (depending on your work or play habits) diner fare, especially with the adjacent Missy B's.
"People deserve to have good quality food and good quality service in the middle of night," Franco said.
Amen to that.