Diners are one of the last vestiges of a bygone era, along with cruising around town in cool socks and patiently explaining love to rebellious teenage poodles. Enjoy the tastiest form of nostalgia with today’s Groupon: for $8, you get $16 worth of classic diner fare and drinks at Original Mels in Auburn.
Resurrected from the classic carhop chain from the '50s and '60s, Original Mels transports temporary time travelers back to a fun and doo-wop-filled dinner at the diner. For a boss burger, Mels boasts a bevy of bovine options, all sizzled with a 1/3 pound of Angus beef and Mels's special seasoning. The crowd-swooning Big Bopper burger hits the stage wearing bacon strips, onion rings, cheddar cheese, and an encore of barbecue sauce ($8.99). The Reuben promises a more thinly sliced sandwich sensation on grilled corn rye ($8.39). Though vegetarians hadn’t yet been invented in the '50s, Mels demonstrates its futuristic foresight with a veggie sandwich, stacked with avocado, red onion, lettuce, tomato, and muenster cheese, swinging on a wholesome platform of seven-grain bread ($7.29).
Original Mels sustains the soul of the '50s with its vintage vibe, complete with Rock-Ola jukebox tunes and walls plastered with American Graffiti posters. As no '50s diner is complete without a soda fountain, customers can choose a malt-can-accompanied milkshake from the traditional trifecta of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, or go deluxe with a mocha java, fresh banana, or pineapple blend ($4.49; malts are optional).
Original Mel's Diner
Though the walls at Original Mel's Diner are decked out in 1950s memorabilia, the eatery dates back to the 1940s, making its throwback aesthetic something of a natural development and not purely a put-on. The diner also owns another indelible link to the golden age of diners: in 1973, George Lucas featured the restaurant in American Graffiti, his iconic paean to all things swell. The restaurant’s screen time didn’t end there; it would later serve as the setting for the sitcom Alice, as well as the famous breakfast laser shootout in Return of the Jedi.
True to its roots, the eatery's massive menu carries the torch for classic eats. Its bounteous American staples include steaks, third-pound burgers, sandwiches, all-day breakfast. While rocking out to '50s and '60s music from table jukeboxes, diners can sink teeth into Hawaiian burgers with teriyaki-glazed pineapple or cheesesteak hoagies, piled high with grilled sirloin steak, jalapeno, and pepperoncini. Fries come topped with gravy, garlic, cheese, or chili. An ice cream parlor-style dessert menu boasts ice cream sundaes, hand-dipped milkshakes and malts that hearken back to the days when soda jerks still roamed the earth. A banquet room fit for celebrating birthdays, team gatherings, and more seats up to 50 people.
Country Club Estates
1730 Grass Valley Hwy.
Auburn, California 95603Get Directions