The Original Mels is even more exciting than it has been at any time in its 66 year history. With locations throughout Northern California and Reno, The Original Mels restaurants are an icon of life during the fabulous fifties in American.

Take a scroll down memory lane, or better yet, jump in the car and cruise over to your local Original Mels and escape to a time when fun was allowed, the food was simple and delicious and the service was friendly and fast.

wall of reno dinner

Part of our heritage is one of the best coming of age movies every made, American Graffiti, by George Lucas. And the Original Mels locations all sport memorabilia of the time the movie was set. Eating at The Original Mels is as much about the American culture as it is about great food and service. Join us today!

american graffi movie still
American Graffi Movie still
hot fudge sundue

About The Original Mels

Welcome to Mels – we’re glad you’re here!

waitress with milkshake, decorated wall, restaurant front doors

Mels has been serving up fun and great food since 1947. With locations throughout Northern California and Nevada, Mels is the place to go for a bye-gone era that offers simple pleasures and a friendly atmosphere.

The 1973 release of the classic “American Graffiti” was set at the Original Mels, and you can still experience the fun and excitement of the movie, and more importantly, the very time itself.

So sit back, relax, listen to some fabulous fifties hits and make some memories at Original Mels.

waitress, table top, cheeseburger


It all started with Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs in their first carhop in San Francisco. They offered great food and lured guests with radio personality Wolfman Jack.

“We are put on this earth to have a good time. This makes other people feel good. And the cycle continues.” Wolfman Jack


The Mels chain grows to more than 40 locations across Northern California, bringing Mels fun and food to millions of hungry people.


George Lucas films his soon to be classic film “American Graffiti” at The Original Mels in San Francisco. The movie created a renewed interest in the 50’s as a simpler, feel good era when anything was possible. Today this spirit lives on in every Original Mels restaurant.

waitress, french fries in little car, model airplane


The legendary restaurant chain is sold for the value of the real estate, and the legacy of the Original Mels nearly dies in the process.


The Original Mels is resurrected in Stockton, California and starts the long road to reclaim the legacy and excitement that is the spirit of The Original Mels. The Original Mels is featured in the TV hit series “Alice” and is a feature of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.


With the addition of the newest location in Brentwood, the chain grows to 11 locations throughout California and Nevada with plans for more openings soon.