May 27, 2020
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Popular South Portland diner closing after 66 years

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Two pedestrians cross Congress Street in nearly-deserted downtown Portland, Maine.

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Uncle Andy’s Diner in South Portland, which has twice appeared on the Food Network, is closing for good after 66 years in business, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Owner Dennis Fogg said Friday he’ll keep the diner open until the end of May for takeout. Being closed to sit-down customers by pandemic restrictions has devastated his business, since the diner is mostly known for serving breakfast and lunch.

“People don’t really think of breakfast food as takeout except for Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Fogg, 57, who has owned the diner for 17 years. “We’ve always been able to just get by, but now we can’t.”

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Uncle Andy’s Diner opened in 1954 on Ocean Street across from Mill Creek Park. It is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, horseshoe-shaped counters and Fogg’s bonhomie. He’s a professional comedian who creates pancakes shaped like anything from dinosaurs to spring scenes with flowers and butterflies.

About seven years ago, Fogg’s children contacted the Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible” to see if star host Robert Irvine could give the diner a makeover. He did, also improving some of its methods. The show returned in September for a follow-up.

Fogg will likely spend time with his five grandchildren this summer, maybe watching them while their parents scramble to find new jobs, the Press Herald reports.

“We didn’t want to dig a hole we couldn’t get out of. If we close now, we can do it on our terms,” Fogg said.

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