Submitted by Deborah Baudoin -
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 remembered 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!
Note: This was an article sent in by Debbie, and she did a great job. It is assumed that when the owner said that Alice was filmed at her diner, she meant that it was based on her diner. The show was actually filmed at the Warner Bros. Studios, and there are several tickets that indicate this (we have photos of the tickets). But this is still a very interesting story. Also, it has been pointed out that part of the "Alice" set was used in the sitcom "Step by Step," though it is still unknown if the set has survived since the sitcom ended years ago, or if it was used in another set, or just knocked down.