One Last Cup of Coffee at the Metro

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Photos by Dylan Hollingsworth
Shortly after 2 p.m. yesterday, Wayne Adams locked the door to the Metro Diner for the first time since 1997 -- and for the final time.
When we got to the Metro Diner yesterday, a little after noon, the Gaston Ave. greasy spoon was packed. TV crews were in the back, interviewing Virgie and James Adams, who opened the diner in '68 and was there to help his son Wayne close it down after close to 43 years in operation; a Dallas News photographer showed up a little later, trying to stay out of the way of waitresses tending to booths stuffed with patrons getting one last fill-er-up. By 12:30, the line was out the door.

Dylan Hollingsworth was there too -- in the small corner booth, his regular perch in recent weeks as he documented the demise of the all-hours, all-welcome institution about to give way to Baylor's expansion. Forthcoming is another one ofHere is another one of Dylan's wonderful slide shows, this one consisting of photos taken during its surprisingly joyful but ultimately tear-stained final hours.

We stayed for a good two hours, as Wayne shouted "Last call at the Metro!" and waitresses took turns dancing and crying with customers to whom they'd have to say farewell for now. My dad and Wayne, who discovered they'd graduated Hillcrest a few years apart, chatted over a pot of coffee; the boy wandered around taking his own farewell photos.

As the clock neared the 2 p.m. adios, Wayne got up to say his final round of goodbyes -- at which point Willie Nelson's version of Fred Rose's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" came on the jukebox. And when Willie got to that part about how "only memories remain," Wayne, who'd been all smiles all day, turned to his daughter, who'd come in from Texas A&M for the occasion, and gave her a big, long hug. He then reached in his pocket and fished out that new key to the front door. "Time to lock 'er up," he said, his eyes wide and red.

A few more farewell photos follow.

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10 comments
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Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

The "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" bit choked me up.

Robert, has Dallas Observer ever compiled a list of coffee joints like this so we can make sure we visit them more frequently?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

That's an excellent question. This is clearly a dying breed of business. There are cool new coffee places, but the old bacon eggs grease 24 hour diner is a thing of the past. I wasn't a frequenter of the Metro Diner, but my 19 year old son sure was.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Went to the Metro in Oak Cliff, where the chain is thriving with personality, and the food...beats Denny's or IHOP any day, any hour, any second. Total bill for me and a friend: $12.02.

Reminded me of a place my grandmother and I would go when I was Harry's age...she'd have me figure out the tip as a math exercise, and then leave a flat $2.00 (at Metro or at Pyles). I'd put whatever was left from my allowance on the table as we rushed out, covering my face, apologizing. Ahh, childhood. Diners. Memories.

Anne
Anne

LaceyB: My grandmother did the same thing!! Her rule of thumb was a dollar per person. Bittersweet memory, but a great life lesson. I typically tip 30% in diners.

scottindallas
scottindallas

The physical space is the most distinctive aspect of the Metro Diner, their late hours another. The food wasn't anything to write home about, but it is sad to see it go.

glynnwilcox
glynnwilcox

Sad........ but hey Denny's Ihop and some other national chains are still open.... Small, independent places make a city a city...... sad sad sad day.......

James
James

I don't get it, if the place is so popular why not just relocate it?

Angie
Angie

Looks like they are moving somewhere in Oak Cliff. Anyone know where?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

The Metro at Davis and Hampton has been there since 1964. It is the last remaining Metro Diner. Some of the staff from Gaston will be moving there, joining some of those moved to Oak Cliff after the demise of the Preston Center location in 2008.

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