By Jessica Huffman, Correspondent
May was the start of a new era for the former Mary and John's Hamburger Shop. The restaurant was bought by Matthew Glick in March and renamed University Diner.
"I bought it to make it a place for people to have fun," Glick said.
He has revitalized the location but kept its history alive. He displays the sign that has graced the front of the building since 1954, when Mary and John's originally opened.
"It is a tribute to the success of Mary and John's," he said.
He also kept the original counter, counter seats, booths, tables and flooring.
"Our vision for it was to give credit to the universities, but keep the 1950s diner feel," said Glick's wife, Tanya.
He has made the restaurant his own by renaming it and giving it a college theme. Pictures of Tiffin University and Heidelberg University appear on the wall next to the booths.
Glick updated pipes, added a flat-top grill, ice machine, cooler and flat-screen TV. The restaurant has been spruced up and painted, as well.
"I like the grill being out front," said part-time cook Mike Skelley, a junior at Tiffin University. "I can interact with the customers."
The staff includes local students from both universities as the cooks and waitresses.
"It doesn't feel like work, it feels like you're hanging out with friends," said waitress Morgan Shriver. "It is a big family environment."
Glick also employs local restaurant veteran Ellen Bland. Bland has been in the business for 25 years. She has run several local restaurants, including Irongate Cafe and Miss Julie's, which became Ellie's. Bland will be working part time as a manager/assistant.
"I like the fact that he left the original tables and booths and floors," Bland said. "Tiffin always needs a place for professionals to eat, other than fast food."
The menu is similar to that of Mary and John's. The food is the classic diner cuisine with a twist; the specialties follow the college theme with names such as The Bachelor's, The Master's and PhD. Homemade soups, pies, cakes and muffins are to be added to the menu, along with healthy sandwiches.
"It's nice to say that nothing is frozen and things are homemade," said Tanya Glick.
The restaurant has drawn back some of Mary and John's regulars and has begun to attract new clients.
"I like the place. I think it's a nice addition to the community," said George Cepeda, who had been a Mary and John's regular. "I hope they stay and prosper."
University Diner is open 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.