The Melios brothers are too busy to chat right now. Toast is halved and buttered as fast as hands can move them. The dishes, heaped with crusty hash browns and over-easy eggs, clatter as they drop on the counter. Mike Melios is facing the griddle, skinny in a white shirt and apron and a swoop of stormy gray hair that matches his mustache. He tosses his hands up without saying a word after hearing, “I can’t believe you’re closing down!” It’s a gesture that reads, “What are you gonna do?”
Jesus Garcia, who’s been working the kitchen of Melios Char Bar — that marble blue building with three peaks like an EKG on Greenville, the one you’ve passed more times than you know — for 36 years, writes an order of a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. He’s got a pen moving on the paper ticket like the old ways. He passes the order on, calling out “bacon and egg sandwich,” and the line grows one soul longer. Garcia smiles, a bittersweet thing, when asked about the diner closing.
"After 50 years, it’s time to rest,” he says, referring to the endless energy of the Melios brothers.
It is, and it always has been, a joy to watch the brothers in the kitchen of their family joint. They beam through toast, eggs and chicken-fried steak. In the past years, their smiles lit up the stuck-in-time diner. Maybe I'm projecting from lamenting the loss of a nearly-50-year-old neighborhood joint, but today feels a little darker. There’s a little bit of gloom on the horizon.
Rumors blew around this summer. It was all over Facebook: A real estate post showed the 4,000-square-foot building that’s been the brothers' restaurant since 1971 available like any other listing. It was a punch in the gut to the dedicated patrons of the trend-free, unchanging-in-the-harsh-tides, pancakes-and-burgers joint. It’s the kind of place where the dusty, individual-lettered menu abbreviated “bacon” into “Bac.” There’s a pork chop sandwich for less money than most of the dishes in the artisan joints that surround the Char Bar.
Finally, a Facebook post confirmed months of rumors:
"The Melios Brothers would like to thank all our customers for the support and business you all have given us for over 40 years. Our little blue and white house on lower Greenville has become a landmark because of the love you all have shown us. We would like to let our customers know that September 22nd will be our last day."
One patron nearby takes a moment for a short prayer before diving into her bacon, egg and tomato sandwich. Another shouts at a Melios brother, nearly sounding angry.
“Hey! Why y’all closing down?”
But the Melios brothers are too busy fielding orders to chat at the moment.
How many restaurants are left that have a salad bar with store-bought salad dressings and prefab croutons? How many diners are washed in fading Santorini blue, the hue of the Aegean sea? The sign by the heavily seasoned griddle announces a special that hasn’t changed in years: Gyros (The Melios hail from Nafpaktos, Greece). Not farm-to-table; just gyros.
Their cheeseburger is free of the shackles of trends: It’s squishy-bunned, fast-food happiness that tastes like layers of char and smoke from the griddle. The real gem is a breakfast sandwich: a homey BLT with egg and golden shreds of cheese-with-a-z that reminds of nothing else on the block. It’s toasty, loaded with thin, crispy bacon and warming.
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There's a sinking feeling that comes with thinking of Char Bar as an endangered species in Dallas. You can read the feeling on people’s faces as they enter — the understood acceptance that we're in a constantly updated reality, as gentrification needles into the historic streets.
It’s up to us to patronize places we love in the wake of new after new after new. It’s as simple as this (and this goes for myself as well): We can’t take the neighborhood places — the ones we count on driving by every day, a confirmation that something we love is still in its home — for granted in a fragile environment.
In other words, it's a good thing when the Melios Brothers are too busy to chat.
Meilos Char Bar, 2026 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville)