It started as a joke. A silly tidbit of trivia passed on to me by my buddy Sunny.
"Did you know that the real Mel's Diner (from Alice) is still operating in Phoenix?" she asked casually as we were out on one of our late-night jaunts.
"You don't say!" I responded.
"Yeah," she murmured, easing her hand from the steering wheel to point lazily at an old-fashioned diner on the right. "That's it."
"That's it? No way! That's the real Mel's Diner?" I crooked my neck to watch as the dark blob whizzed by at 50 mph. "You are SO making that up!"
That's when it began. My quest. My obsession. My purpose.
I had to eat at Mel's Diner.
Many months passed after that first trip. I kept bugging Sunny to go with me, and our plans kept falling through. Finally, one morning, I'd had enough. It was Saturday, my day off. I was going to Mel's.
I didn't give Sunny a chance to blow me off. I showed up at her front door at nine in the morning. She was sound asleep. I didn't care. I woke her up. "We're going to Mel's."
"Huh?" This was through a fog of sleep and pillow.
"Get dressed. I'm buying you breakfast."
That got through to her. Sleepily, she dragged herself out of the house and into my car. (Yeah, she rememebered to put clothes on.) We made it to Mel's (actually, Pat's Family Diner) after only a few minor diversions.
Pat's was everything I expected and more. We were greeted by Pat herself, who served our food and chatted with us for a while. "You know this place was used to film the TV show 'Alice,'" she mentioned as she put our scrambled eggs and toast on the table.
"Really??" I wanted to say, still trying to maintain at least a minimal level of coolness, but my friend Sunny just burst in with, "Yeah, that's why we came here!"
So much for maintaining a minimal level of coolness. But it was a fun, campy thing to do. The food was actually quite good, and reasonably priced. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and we had a great time. Pat even took a picture of us (see below: I'm on the right).
And that's the story of my breakfast at Mel's!
The Coffee Cup Sign in All Its Glory
Great Food, Fresh Service! Sunny and I enjoy a wonderful breakfast, courtesy of Pat's Family Diner. I'm not sure if my face is read from the heat or from the embarrassment!
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