Just got back from a late-ish lunch with Dr. Schutze, who figured, sure, might as well dine at the Metro Diner in Preston Center before it collects its last tip Saturday afternoon 'round 2:30. Sitting at the counter was Wayne Adams, whose father, James W., opened the joint in 1963, about a year after the Toddle House abandoned the location. James had worked for the Toddle House, matter of fact, first as a local manager and then a regional boss; Wayne says his dad, who's now 87, took over the spot once he realized he hated being stuck out in West Texas.
Wayne spent most of today visiting with strangers lured in by word of the Metro's demise. He explained to one woman that the Vent-a-Hood over the grill, where burgers and chicken breasts sizzled next to eggs and hash browns, dated back to the 1940s. He pointed out the neon sign, which his dad had made shortly after the eatery was rechristened the Metro Grill in '63.
Wayne calls the Gaston Avenue outpost, which will remain open, "my baby"; and, of course, the Adams family still owns and operates the Wayne's Beckley Grill and the Pitt Grill locally, as well as the Caddo Pancake House in Caddo Mills and the Pitt Grill in Sulphur Springs. But he can't help but note the passing of an era in a piece of Preston Center about to be bulldozed for either a high-rise condo or office tower, where rent will be $40 a square foot. "I grew up here," says Wayne, who, on Saturday, will lock up the greasy spoon one final time.
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If you see me there Saturday, breakfast's on me. And Schutze thought his breakfast-for-lunch "terrific." Ate every last biscuit. --Robert Wilonsky