Diners, Drive Ins' & Dives...Southside Chili

We had a local diner from Norman showcased last night on Diners, Drive Ins' & Dives with Guy Fieri. It's called The Diner and is located at 213 E. Main Street in Norman, OK. It's a little hole in the wall run by Mark Amspacher and when I say hole in the wall I mean that literally. On one side of the diner is the grill and such with a counter and stools, on the other side is either 6 or 7 booths that you sink into, and enough room for the waitress to walk sideways (if there is another person in the isle) and set down your order. Yet every weekend there is a crowd standing outside to get in. On the episode last night Mark's Southside Chili was featured. We have been eating Mark's chili for years. I use to buy it by the 2 lb. block and bring it home and warm it up. It is not for the faint of heart, yet it is so good. You can find Mark's Southside Chili at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/southside-chili-recipe/index.html Mark and his family use to have a little corner grocery and when you went in you could tell that he was making chili due to the aroma of the garlic in the air. Mark would make about 50 lbs. or more of chili at a time and if you were not in there at the right time you didn't get any. I finally got smart and would place my order ahead of time and he would hold it for me. Mark's chicken salad is to die for. I don't think there was one thing that he made that I didn't like. They had a fabulous meat market and it was so convenient just to pop to the little corner store to pick up the few things that you needed. It was also one of those rare stores that would let you charge your purchase and they would deliver it to you. It was a great service for shut-ins. Here is the YouTube clip:
Norman has one little mom and pop corner store left at the corner of Chautauqua Ave. and W. Eufaula. They too have great cuts of meats. During lunch they run a little sandwich shop, since it's in close proximity to the university and downtown they get a lot of business. I like to go there to get soup bones. They are far meatier that what you get in the big supermarkets.

If you are ever here in Norman, drop by The Diner and partake in some good ole fashion greasy spoon dinning.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Post Script...I'm sad to report that Mark passed away quiet suddenly last year, however his daughter is now running The Diner.  Customers are still lined up outside the door on the weekends and at lunchtime to get in for the great food.  We all miss Mark and his great sense of humor and all the wonderful food he made, however The Diner is in good hands due to the great people who work there and his legacy will carry on.  

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