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The Original Mels Diner, serving nostalgia all day and night |

The Original Mels Diner, serving nostalgia all day and night

The world may have turned high-tech, but you don’t have to look too far to find an authentic ’50s-style family dining experience.

The Original Mels Diner in Brentwood was built on the American dream, combining American pop culture, delicious food and an authentic retro design.

The diner, which is part of a chain that dates back to 1947, is open 24/7 making it the perfect pit stop for any time or occasion. 

“Mels was born out of another era,” said Don Yakel, president of The Original Mels and one of the founders and owners. “Good times, fast cars, rock and roll, comfort food and girls on skates serving food. It is Americana.”

Mels began as a drive-in in San Francisco and soon became a landmark in the Bay Area, growing to 35 locations. The restaurants peaked in popularity in the 1960s amongst American families and even found its own place in Hollywood, being featured in several movies and the hit TV series “Alice.” 

Those who visit the diner today immerse themselves in American nostalgia from the table jukeboxes, linoleum counters, classic movie and music posters, checkered-tile flooring and vintage paraphernalia that line the walls.  

But what keeps people coming back is the delicious food. Breakfast is served 24 hours daily with favorites including chicken fried steaks, a variety of eggs Benedicts, hot cakes, French toast, waffles, scrambles, omelets, skillets and more. 

“The menu has a wide variety of something for everyone,” said Yakel. “We buy the highest quality foods, and we give our customers the best price we can.”

Straight from the original Mels menu are delicious burgers, shakes and fries.

Mels also offers a selection of salads, specialty sandwiches and blue plate dinners, including prime rib and shrimp; rib-eye steak; chicken fried steak, meat loaf and other entrees served with home-style sides.

Kids meals are served in classic car cutouts children can take home.

“The food is great,” said Oakley resident Brandon Brown. “You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, but I enjoy their breakfast the most.”

For guests, the experience centers around a delicious meal, served in a warm, fun and nostalgic atmosphere, but for owner Don Yakel, it’s a trip back in time.

“I am 75 years old, and when I hear a song from the ’60s, it absolutely takes me back to what I was doing, what I was feeling and what I was dreaming,” said Yakel. “I would like our guests to experience some of what we did back then.”

Another important component to Mels is customer satisfaction.

“Customer satisfaction is job one to Mels,” said Yakel. “We try to create a fun atmosphere for the customer as well as the employees. We care. If you are not satisfied at Mels, find the manager. We will make it right for you or you will not have to pay.”

The Original Mels Diner is located at 2523 Sand Creek Road, in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-240-6357 or visit

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